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Live streaming can be very daunting. There are a lot of technical terms which you wouldn’t come across in your day to day lives! This is our cheat sheet to give you a better understanding of some of the most common terminology used when setting up your live stream.

Live Stream

A video transmitted onto the internet in real time. The video doesn’t necessarily have to be generated by a live camera, but the footage live or recorded must be streamed to a website on the internet.

Video Source

This could be a camera on a smartphone, a webcam, a handy cam or a pre-recorded video. It’s the piece of equipment that provides the live video feed for your live stream.

Audio Source

This refers to the piece of equipment that captures audio for the live stream. This could be a microphone on a headset or a built in microphone within a laptop or camera.

A Video Encoder

This is computer software or a standalone device that converts the live camera image into data that’s uploaded in real time to the internet for people to view.

Streaming Destination

This is the place that you want to display your live stream. Whether it be Facebook live, YouTube, Vimeo, or twitch. They are all very similar, so this is just the place that you want to direct your viewers to watch. A great benefit of live streaming is if you direct someone to your YouTube or Facebook page, you increase the amount of traffic to that location which is a big bonus to marketing!


Resolution refers to the physical size of the live stream content. A good example is full HD 1920 x 1080. The numbers refer to the number of pixels that make up the total size of the video. The more pixels there are, the better the live stream quality but it also means far more information that needs to be uploaded for the live stream. That means the higher the resolution, the higher your internet upload speed needs to be and the bigger strain it puts on your computer.

Here is a graphic of some of the more common resolutions you will come across while streaming:

Live streaming terminology, Live streaming terminology explained


Bitrate is a measure of the amount of information that is being encoded and transmitted in a single second of your live stream. The higher your bitrate, the better the quality of the stream. Keep in mind, you need an upload speed of roughly 1.5x your bitrate. There is no point in setting a really high bitrate if you don’t have the upload speeds to transmit the data.

Frame rate

The frame rate refers to the number of still images (or frames) that are displayed in one second of video.

Stream URL

Your stream URL is a unique address used to upload your live stream to your designated destination (such as Facebook live or YouTube). The URL will be different for each live stream provider.

Stream Key

This is your password. It’s a unique key dedicated to your account that allows your video stream to play on your account. You should never share your Stream Key with anyone to avoid someone using your account to stream their content.


Some streams need to be delayed for a variety of reasons. They are technically still a live stream but the video runs behind the real thing. This is mainly used in competitions or tournaments where people could get an advantage by watching the live stream while competing.

If you require any help with your live stream, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.


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