In this article, following information can be used to calculate the exact bandwidth and storage required for streaming video of certain length to given number of viewers at specified bit rate. The formula and calculation parameters are generic and apply to all typical streaming systems and scenarios.

Calculate Storage

Streaming media storage size is calculated from the streaming bandwidth and length of the media using the following formula (for a single user and file):

Length of video (in seconds) x video bit rate (in bit/s) / (8 x 1024 x 1024) = storage size (in megabytes)

Calculate Bandwidth

If the file (300 Kbit/s) is stored on a server for on-demand streaming and this stream is viewed by 1,000 people at the same time using a uni-cast protocol, the requirement would be:

Video bit rate (in Kbit/s) x estimate number of people = bandwidth (in Kbit/s)

Example: 300 Kbit/s x 1,000 = 300,000 Kbit/s = 300 Mbit/s of bandwidth

Estimate live streaming total traffic

The formula for calculating live streaming traffic:

Video bit rate (in bps) × length of video (in seconds) × estimated number of viewers / (8*1024*1024) = MB transferred

What is Bit rate

As the name implies, describes the rate at which bits are transferred from one location to another. In other words, it measures how much data is transmitted in a given amount of time. Bit rate is commonly measured in bits per second (bps), kilo-bits per second (Kbps), or megabits per second (Mbps). Bit rate can also describe the quality of an audio or video file.

For example:

  • an MP3 audio file that is compressed at 192 Kbps will have a greater dynamic range and may sound slightly clearer than the same audio file compressed at 128 Kbps. This is because more bits are used to represent the audio data for each second of playback.
  • Similarly, a video file that is compressed at 3000 Kbps will look better than the same file compressed at 1000 Kbps. Just like the quality of an image is measured in resolution, the quality of an audio or video file is measured by the bit rate.