What’s the Best Bitrate for the Best Video Quality on YouTube? (1080p, 1440p, 4K)

This video shows you how to get the best video quality on YouTube using the best bitrate at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K. I discuss the influence of different bitrates on the perceptual video quality of YouTube videos based on clips from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Warzone and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

This analysis is based on render clips of varying bitrates at different resolutions (1080p, 1440p, and 4K). Using the perceptual video quality assessment algorithm VMAF developed by Netflix, I was able to compute quality metrics for each video re-encoded by YouTube. Based on these computations, I found the following cut-off bitrates, after which increasing the bitrate only insignificantly improved visual quality on YouTube further:

• 4K: 80-100 Megabit/second
• 1440p: 60 Megabit/second
• 1080p: 40 Megabit/second

Video quality measuring tool

VMAF is a perceptual video quality assessment algorithm developed by Netflix. VMAF Development Kit (VDK) is a software package that contains the VMAF algorithm implementation, as well as a set of tools that allows a user to train and test a custom VMAF model. Read this techblog post for an overview, or this post for the latest updates and tips for best practices.

vmaf logo

Also there is an interesting Neflix article.

How will Netflix members rate the quality of this video — poor, average or excellent?

Which video clip looks better — encoded with Codec A or Codec B?
For this episode, at 1000 kbps, is it better to encode with HD resolution, with some blockiness, or will SD look better?

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