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Dash cam video bitrate explained

How does it affect my footage?

The video's bitrate is one of the most underappreciated factors that determines video quality, whether it's a live stream or recording, shot on your iPhone, on a DSLR, or even your dash camera.

Generally, bitrate is the amount of data processed per second when recording footage. More bits per second equals more video information. More information implies more details, which means better screen quality.

So, what does it indicate? Simply put, the lower the number next to the bitrate, the lower the video quality; the higher the number, the higher the video quality.

How is video bitrate measured in a dash cam?

For dash cams, and even conventional cameras, the bitrate of video is usually measured in megabits per second, which you'll see as Mbps. If you’re familiar with the unit, it also measures internet speeds and other camera specs.

Does bitrate affect my dash cam’s storage?

Yes, and we will explain why some of your video footage consumes a lot of space.

Assume you're shooting at 50 megabits per second. Doing some math here, that means you're recording 50 megabits of data every second, which adds up to 3000 megabits, or 0.375 gigabytes, over the course of a minute.

To put this in context, a high-quality photo is approximately 3-5 megabytes in size. An email is typically 75 kilobytes in size, so 60 seconds of footage is twelve times the size of a high-quality photo and 500 times the size of an email.

Does my dash cam's video quality only rely on bitrate?

Bitrate is just one aspect that affects video quality. Other factors that contribute include frame rate, which impacts the smoothness of the video, and resolution, which determines the number of pixels in the video.

Dash cams with high bitrate recording

Among the brands we carry, VIOFO is one of the brands that records at a higher bitrate than many other dash cams, which contributes to the high video quality. Diving in, the following compares the maximum bitrates and file sizes of several flagship dash cams we have:

The bitrate for the VIOFO is double those of the BlackVue DR900X and Thinkware U1000 - which you know are high performance dash cams. Therefore, it’s safe to say that despite its low price range, the VIOFO A129 Pro does an excellent job of recording everything around you.

Does A129 Pro Duo have H.265 codec recording?

Yes, aside from H.264, the H.265 encoding is a hidden mode in the VIOFO A129 Pro Duo. To enable it, stop recording and hold the mic button on the A129 Pro Duo. An SD card icon will appear on the left side of the screen to indicate using H.265.

Using H.265 will save some space on your micro SD card but do take note that currently not all devices are able to play H.265 properly as it requires more processing power to decode during playback.

Available bit rate settings and compression rate on the A129 Pro Duo

There are 4 bitrate settings that you can set on the VIOFO A129 Pro Duo. Below is the information for H.264 & H.265 encoding for the 4 bitrate settings namely low, medium, high and max.

 In theory, all of them should play back just as well, but in practice, the more compressed your files are, the more compression artifacts you're likely to see.

H.264 Low bitrate

Front cam: 3840×2160 30fps – Overall bit rate: 15.3 Mb/s. 110MB per 1 min file.

Rear cam: 1920×1080 30fps – Overall bit rate: 10.3 Mb/s. 73.9MB per 1 min file.

 

H.264 Medium bit rate

Front cam: 3840×2160 30fps – Overall bit rate: 30.3 Mb/s. 217MB per 1 min file.

Rear cam: 1920×1080 30fps – Overall bit rate: 12.4 Mb/s. 88.8MB per 1 min file.

 

H.264 High bitrate

Front cam: 3840×2160 30fps – Overall bit rate: 42.4 Mb/s. 303MB per 1 min file.

Rear cam: 1920×1080 30fps – Overall bit rate: 14.3 Mb/s. 102MB per 1 min file.

 

H.264 Maximum bit rate

Front cam: 3840×2160 30fps – Overall bit rate: 60.3 Mb/s. 431MB per 1 min file.

Rear cam: 1920×1080 30fps – Overall bit rate: 16.2 Mb/s. 116MB per 1 min file.

 

H.265 Low bit rate 

Front cam: 3840×2160 30fps – Overall bit rate: 13.7 Mb/s. 97.7MB per 1 min file.

Rear cam: 1920×1080 30fps – Overall bit rate: 8,665 kb/s. 62MB per 1 min file.

 

H.265 Medium bit rate

Front cam: 3840×2160 30fps – Overall bit rate: 22.4 Mb/s. 160MB per 1 min file.

Rear cam: 1920×1080 30fps – Overall bit rate: 10.3 Mb/s. 73.9MB per 1 min file.

 

H.265 High bitrate

Front cam: 3840×2160 30fps – Overall bit rate: 34.5 Mb/s. 247MB per 1 min file.

Rear cam: 1920×1080 30fps – Overall bit rate: 12.4 Mb/s. 88.8MB per 1 min file.

 

H.265 Maximum bit rate

Front cam: 3840×2160 30fps – Overall bit rate: 52.4 Mb/s. 375MB per 1 min file.

Rear cam: 1920×1080 30fps – Overall bit rate: 14.5 Mb/s. 104MB per 1 min file.

Is it safe to put my bitrate to ‘Maximum’ at all times?

It's fine to use maximum, but it means the card has fewer video minutes. If you’re driving within the city, the difference between High and Max is subtle, but it exists and is more noticeable at higher speeds and under trees.

A129 Pro Duo Bonus: Low Bitrate Recording in Parking Mode

While the VIOFO A129 Pro Duo already offers a wide array of bitrate settings depending on your need, there’s an additional bitrate feature that works best for your security.

When the dash cam is hardwired directly into your car's electrical system, the VIOFO A129 Pro Duo includes a parking mode feature. The A129 Pro Duo has three parking modes: auto impact detection, time lapse recording 24 hours a day, and low bitrate recording.

The low bitrate option allows the dashcam to record video and audio continuously while parked without overwriting your memory card. This reduces the bitrate to just 4 Mb/s, allowing you to record everything while parked for hours on end.

VIOFO A129 Pro Duo: Affordably Priced 4K resolution Dash Cam

The VIOFO A129 Pro Duo is a high-performance, high-definition dash cam with a lot to offer. It outperforms almost every other dash cam on the market at this price point, thanks to its stunning 4K resolution, Sony STARVIS image sensors, and video recording capabilities.

Furthermore, the ability to capture 2K video at 60 frames per second is also a reason why the A129 Pro is the best budget 4K dash cam we highly recommend.

VIOFO A129 Pro Duo 4K 2-Channel Dash Cam with GPS - Dash Cams - VIOFO A129 Pro Duo 4K 2-Channel Dash Cam with GPS - 2-Channel, 4K UHD @ 30 FPS, Adhesive Mount, backorder:Sorry - Item on Backorder - ETA July 12th, China, Display Screen, G-Sensor, GPS, Loop Recording, Mobile App Viewer, Night Vision, Parking Mode, Rear Camera, Super Capacitor, Wi-Fi - BlackboxMyCar