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OBS Set Up: Bitrates

When setting up your stream in OBS, you'll need to decide a video bitrate. Below is a basic guide for creative streaming rates.

Run an internet speed test on Speedtest.net to find out what your upload speed is. Speedtest by default measures in mbps, but your OBS bitrate is in kbps. To convert these easily, 1000kbps = 1mbps. The following conditions are a basic rule of thumb, and you should test your stream and adjust your bitrate to make sure everything runs smoothly for your particular set up.

If you have an upload speed of less than 500kbps / 0.5mbps:

I’m afraid it’s going to be hard to stream much of anything. While it’s possible to stream on a bitrate this low, you would need a higher upload speed for extra cushioning to ensure your stream runs smoothly. I don’t recommend you try to stream, unless you’ve tested everything and can guarantee a smooth connection.


If your upload speed is around 1000kbps / 1mbps:

Use between 400-700 for your bitrate, and you should be able to stream comfortably in 720p. Your stream may lag if there's any fast or intensive movements on screen, such as a moving camera, facecam, or video/gifs playing.


If your upload speed is 2000-3000kbps / 2-3mbps:

Try 1500 bitrate if you want to stream in 720p. You can try using 2000-2500 for a 1080p stream, but you may want to test and make sure this works fine with your computer and connection.


If your upload speed is over 4000kbps / 4mbps: 

You can stream comfortably in 1080p with a bitrate anywhere between 2000-3500. Using a higher bitrate will be harder on your CPU, so consider streaming at a lower bitrate & quality if your computer is older or cheaper. No matter which category you fall into, be sure to test your stream, watch the quality and adjust if you find you’re dropping any frames. You can monitor this at the bottom of the OBS window when you’re live.



Audio Bitrate: It’s widely recommended you use 112 or 128 for your audio bitrate, no matter what you’re streaming. Your audio and video bitrate will combine into one number, and that is your total streaming bitrate.


Testing your stream: You can add the tag "?testingbandwidth=true" to the end of your stream key at any time to fake a live session. You will not stream on your Twitch page, but you'll be able to monitor your dropped frames and stability. Don't forget to remove the tag when you're ready to go live for real!



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