What is a Bitrate Ladder?
An array of different segments of video files with differing quality and resolution that are available on the streaming server is called the bitrate ladder.
The bitrate ladder is an important component of Adaptive Bitrate Streaming (ABR), wherein files are streamed efficiently over HTTP networks. The method involves delivering multiple files with the same content but different visual qualities and file sizes.
The video player receives all the copies of the same file and chooses which is most appropriate to be played back on a specific device.
How do Bitrate Ladders work?
The main purpose of a bitrate ladder is to support the functioning of ABR technologies. In this method, live, and on-demand video content can be encoded in multiple files (called bitrate or encoding ladders) and then prepared for delivery.
The video player chooses the quality and resolution to be streamed as per the device's performance and internet connectivity speed.
There are two ways of using ABR technology. The first process involves sending a range of files in the encoding ladder so that different devices can choose the most appropriate one based on their playback capabilities and device performance.
In the second process, files are adapted based on changing bandwidth conditions of the client device.
Using these two processes interchangeably allows ABR technologies to deliver a holistic viewing experience to clients using different devices and connections.