Do you really want WebRTC video streaming in a 4096 x 2160 resolution?

The point is can we afford this bandwidth everywhere. No.

You can buy an ultra HD monitor to get 4K live streaming. No doubt it is cutting edge initiative, watching 3-4 windows on one monitor is a mind blowing experience. Who doesn’t require such monitors or who’ll ever say no to it? A few years back manufacturers came with HD television and now the technology is quite old so industry touted with Ultra HD.

But what matters is, do you need the same for video conferencing?

Let's cut to the chase - Live streaming and video conferencing are two varied things. Watching television in Ultra HD is digestible but video conferencing in 4K is like a castle in the air.

The 4K video has a resolution of 4096 x 2160 (or 3840 x 2160). This means to get this stream you require an internet connection of at least 15 Mbps and Preferably 20 Mbps. It might be easy on one-to-one setup. However the moment you add another user to the line, you’ll require another 15 Mbps network to stream it. In multi-party calling, it gets worse.

If you’re looking for WebRTC 4K video, here’s an approximation of bandwidth you’ll need per stream:

Rate of Streaming


15-20 Mbps


4-8 Mbps


1-4 Mbps


500k - 1 Mbps

VGA (640 x 480)

300k - 500k

QVGA (320 x 320)

Come out of snafu, and try avoiding 4K video for WebRTC as of now.

Internet speed is increasing over time and no doubt we’ll be running things faster in near future. And I’m sure of getting the 4K conferencing call to reality very soon. But fortunately, it’s not today.

Know the obstacles of implementing 4K in WebRTC

Speed - 4K video takes at least 15-20 Mbps to stream on one-to-one setup and if added another user network divides. It won’t load, unless and until you don’t provide another network of 15-20 Mbps.

Ethernet NIC or WiFi - With 30-40 Mbps of constant bit traffic rate, while trying to saturate network connection, it may run out of steam.

Web Browser - You’ll not find equal grace in 4K resolutions on all the browsers. Both the interface and the content scaling is important. If you’ll look at popular browsers - Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer, all show some weaknesses at 4K resolution. None of the browser is able to give satisfactory menu interface in any condition. Image scaling is also an issue. For that purpose, Chrome gives a bit fair of a blur as the scale approaches 150%. The desktop version of Chrome supports GetUser media request for 4K video conferencing.

Does WebRTC support 4K? Yes. Should you expect it to work all the time, probably not a good idea. Have you tried 4K yet? What was your experience, leave it in the comments.

Published On: April 19, 2017​