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Updated 24/11/2012Home » Video Glossary » VBR

VBR

Variable bitrate (VBR) is a term that relates to the bitrate used in sound or video encoding. As opposed to constant bitrate (CBR), VBR files vary the amount of output data per time segment. VBR allows a higher bitrate (and therefore more storage space) to be allocated to the more complex segments of media files while less space is allocated to less complex segments. The average of these rates can be calculated to produce an average bitrate for the file.

MP3, WMA, Vorbis, and AAC audio files can optionally be encoded in VBR. Variable bit rate encoding is also commonly used on MPEG-2 video, MPEG-4 Part 2 video (Xvid, DivX, etc.), MPEG-4 Part 10/H.264 video, Theora, Dirac and other video compression formats. Additionally, variable rate encoding is inherent in lossless compression schemes such as FLAC and Apple Lossless.