What Does VBR Mean?

VBR (Variable Bit Rate) is a term used in computing and telecommunications which relates to the bitrate used in sound or video encoding. In contrast to constant bitrate (CBR), VBR files vary the amount of data used throughout a piece of audio or video. VBR uses a higher bitrate (requiring more storage space) for more complex segments of media files, while using a lower bitrate for less complex segments. The average of these rates can be calculated to produce an average bitrate for the file.

An advantage of using VBR is that it produces a better quality-to-space ratio compared to a file encoded using CBR. The disadvantages are that it may take more time to encode (as the process is more complex) and that some hardware might not be compatible with VBR files.

Variable bit rate encoding is also commonly used on MPEG-2 video, MPEG-4 Part 2 video, MPEG-4 Part 10/H.264 video, Theora, Dirac and other video compression formats. VBR is also routinely used in the Opus, Vorbis, MP3, WMA and AAC audio formats.

Summary of Key Points

"Variable Bit Rate" is the most common definition for VBR on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
Definition:Variable Bit Rate
4: Difficult to guess
Typical Users:
Adults and Teenagers

Image for VBR

When I write VBR, I mean this:

meaning of VBR
The image shows encoding software which is using VBR (Variable Bit Rate).


Examples of VBR in Sentences

Here is an example of VBR being used in a conversation:
  • Person A: That Major Lazer tune you sent me is too big. I havenít enough space on my MP3 player.
  • Jordan: Okay. Donít worry, I have a VBR version that is smaller.

An Academic Look at VBR

VBR is an initialism abbreviation. This means it is pronounced using its individual letters (i.e., Vee Bee Ar). Initialisms contrast with acronyms, which are spoken like words.

Example of VBR Used in a Text


See Also

A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) AAC (Apple Audio Compression) AVI (Audio Video Interleaved (media format)) CODEC (coder-decoder (for audio-video data)) DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) MP3 (MPEG layer 3 (audio file)) MP4 (MPEG layer 4 (video or audio file)) MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group (audio or video file format)) WMA (Windows Media Audio) DIVX (video format) DVDRIP (video copied from a dvd) DVR (Digital Video Recorder) FMV (Full Motion Video) RIP (convert music or video to another format) VCD (Video Compact Disc) Using the music symbols