Bitrate

Bitrate, 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. Bitrate is commonly measured in bits per second (bps), kilobits per second (Kbps), or megabits per second (Mbps). For example, a DSL connection may be able to download data at 768 kbps, while a Firewire 800 connection can transfer data up to 800 Mbps.

Bitrate 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 more clear 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 bitrate.

Updated 2006

Definitions by TechTerms.com

The definition of Bitrate on this page is an original TechTerms.com definition. If you would like to reference this page or cite this definition, you can use the green citation links above.

The goal of TechTerms.com is to explain computer terminology in a way that is easy to understand. We strive for simplicity and accuracy with every definition we publish. If you have feedback about the Bitrate definition or would like to suggest a new technical term, please contact us.

Want to learn more tech terms? Subscribe to the daily or weekly newsletter and get featured terms and quizzes delivered to your inbox.

Sign up for the free TechTerms Newsletter

How often would you like to receive an email?

You can unsubscribe or change your frequency setting at any time using the links available in each email.

Questions? Please contact us.