Did you know that the average internet user watches more than 45 minutes of online video every day? If you’re an aspiring content creator, these figures should excite you. But before you start creating content, it’s important to understand how video compression and bandwidth work. Both are essential to delivering your streaming content without any quality loss or buffering issues. This blog post will provide an overview of the basics of video compression and bandwidth so that you can get started creating great streaming content with confidence. Read on to learn more!

What is video compression?

When you compress a video, you’re essentially taking a large file and making it smaller. This is done by removing data that the human eye can’t see or notice, which results in a file that takes up less space on your hard drive. The tradeoff is that the more you compress a video, the worse the quality becomes.

There are two main types of video compression: lossy and lossless. Lossy compression removes data that the human eye can’t see, resulting in a smaller file size but lower quality video. Lossless compression doesn’t remove any data, so the video quality is maintained but the file size is larger.

The most common type of video compression used today is H.264, which is a lossy compression format. H.264 is used by pretty much every online video platform, from YouTube to Facebook to Netflix. It’s also used in many digital cameras and camcorders.

H.264 works by looking at each frame of a video and discarding information that the human eye can’t see. That might be tiny details like shadows or slight color variations. By discarding this information, H.264 can greatly reduce the file size of a video without affecting its quality too much.

H.264 is so effective that it can reduce the file size of a video by 80% or more while still maintaining near-DVD quality. That means you can take a 1GB HD video and compress it down to just 200MB

How does video compression work?

Video compression is a process of reducing the amount of data necessary to represent a video signal. The goal is to reduce redundancy and other information that is not essential to the reproduction of the video. By doing so, the data can be transmitted using less bandwidth or stored using less space.

There are two main types of video compression: lossy and lossless. Lossy compression reduces the quality of the video signal in order to achieve a smaller file size, while lossless compression does not degrade the quality of the signal.

The most common type of lossy compression used for video is MPEG-4 Part 2, also known as H.264 or AVC. This standard was developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and ratified by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). MPEG-4 Part 2 uses macroblocks, which are groups of pixels that are processed together. The number of macroblocks in a frame can be adjustable, depending on the amount of detail in the scene.

Lossless compression techniques are typically used when creating archival copies or when working with high-quality video signals. One popular method is uncompressedYCbCr 4:2:2, which encodes digital component video signals without losing any information. This format is often used when editing digital video because it preserves all of the original image information.

Pros and cons of video compression

There are a number of video compression formats available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the most popular video compression formats and their pros and cons:

H.264/MPEG-4 AVC: H.264 is a popular video compression format that offers high quality at low bitrates. However, it can be computationally intensive, making it difficult to edit on lower-end devices.

HEVC/H.265: HEVC is the successor to H.264 and offers even better compression efficiency while maintaining high quality. However, it requires more powerful hardware for decoding and encoding, which can make it impractical for some users.

VP9: VP9 is an open source video compression format developed by Google. It offers good compression efficiency and quality, but has not been as widely adopted as other formats due to its relatively newness.

AV1: AV1 is a newer video compression format developed by the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia). It promises even better compression efficiency than HEVC while being more widely compatible with existing hardware and software. However, it is still in its early stages of development and adoption.

Different types of video compression

There are two main types of video compression: lossy and lossless. Lossy compression sacrifices some quality in order to reduce the file size, while lossless compression preserves all the data but results in a larger file size.

The most common type of video compression is H.264, which is a lossy codec that offers high quality at a relatively small file size. Other popular codecs include MPEG-4 (also known as H.264), DivX, and Xvid.

When choosing a video compressor, it’s important to consider the tradeoff between quality and file size. If you need to compress a large video file without sacrificing too much quality, you’ll want to use a lossless codec such as FLAC or ALAC. On the other hand, if you’re willing to sacrifice some quality for a smaller file size, then a lossy codec like MP3 or AAC will be more suitable.


Video compression and bandwidth are an integral part of streaming media and video content in general. Without these two components, we would not be able to enjoy the high quality videos that we have come to expect from our devices. Having a good understanding of how these components work can help us make better decisions when it comes to selecting technology for our projects, as well as improving the overall performance of our streaming services. By taking advantage of all the benefits that video compression and bandwidth offer, you will be able to maximize your viewing experience while simultaneously reducing costs associated with streaming media.


The Basics of Video Compression and Bandwidth: What You Need to Know