March 08, 2013

YouTube Changes Live Encoder Settings

<<< UPDATE >>> here are the latest YouTube Live Encoder settings.

YouTube has made notable changes to their recommended live encoding settings. Particularly with the video bitrate increase for each of the four stream resolutions of 240p, 360p, 480p, and 720p - but also adding a 1080p live streaming resolution. These resolutions can be selected by the viewer from the quality cog adjustment on the bottom right of the YouTube player. 

YouTube's addition of a New Platform suggests encoding a single 6Mbps stream which their media servers then transcode to the lower bitrate streams. 

The bitrates have increased considerably as shown from charts below of the old and new suggestions. 
240p increases from 300Kbps to 500Kbps 
360p increases from 600Kbps to 1000Kbps
480p increases from 1000Kbps to 2000Kbps
720p increases from 2400Kbps to 4000Kbps

OLD recommendations:
OLD encoder settings for YouTube live streaming
OLD encoder settings for YouTube live streaming published by YouTube

NEW recommendations:
NEW encoder settings for YouTube live streaming
NEW encoder settings for YouTube live streaming published by YouTube*

Most YouTube accounts do not have the ability to stream live. Those that are enabled may only have a basic feature of the streaming to a single bitrate of 360p. And some have the enhanced live streaming feature to stream to all four bitrates. Furthermore, YouTube has added a 'New Platform' for live streaming which transcodes a single higher bitrate stream to the lower bitrates. 

YouTube live streaming Old and New Platform
YouTube live streaming Old and New Platform*

Transcoding a single highest bit rate stream down to the lower bit rates and to mobile devices is a big step forward for YouTube live streaming.  A video on the ytliveops YouTube channel discusses transcoding and the new platform. 

*Published from the YouTube Live Streaming Guide 3/8/2013

YouTube now has updated their encoding suggestions to included a recommended bitrate. This is great news as it shows their is flexibility with encoding bitrate. More testing will determine how the YouTube transcoders  handle dynamic bitrates which is offered by many encoders. 
YouTube Live Recommended Encoding Bitrates
YouTube Live Recommended Encoding Bitrates


  1. And, being a Youtube Partner and having multibitrate live events enabled, how do we get the New platform enabled so that we can send a single high-quality bitrate and let Youtube do the transcoding?

  2. Great question Sergi. I'd love to hear more feedback from YT as well. It is lucky to have a channel enabled with the basic live feature.
    However, according to a YT live streaming insider "There will be more features launching soon."

    1. Hello Sergi,
      YouTube announced yesterday that any user enabled to stream live now can opt in to "the new YouTube live streaming experience" and use the new platform.
      You will see an opt in selection in the Live Event settings of Video Manager.
      Here is the announcement:!category-topic/youtube/youtube-live/yfteZ1lhi88

  3. Does this feature, and mobile streaming, work with Akamai? or only Google CDN?

    1. The enhanced features on the old platform included: four single bit rate streams, multi camera, choice of Google or Akamai CDN.
      The new platform does not appear to offer Akamai as an option for CDN... but I'm still testing.
      It would be nice to have a selection of CDNs. This could help Google alleviate bandwidth.

    2. It appears that Akamai is not offered as a selection in the New Platform. Both the old and new platforms transcode for certain mobile devices.

  4. Which means billions cannot watch YouTube on their mobile devices because they are connected on EDGE. Tuluntulu has technology to stream at 24kbps but trying to convince YouTube the developing world exists is not easy.