bit rate

<communications, digital signal processing>

(Or "bitrate") A data rate expressed in bits per second. This is a similar to baud but the latter is more applicable to channels with more than two states.

The common units of bit rate are kilobits per second (Kbps) and megabits per second (Mbps). In data rates, the multipliers "k", "M", etc. stand for powers of 1000 not powers of 1024.

The term is also commonly used when discussing digital sampling and sample rates. For example, the MP3 audio compaction algorithm is often set to ouput files with a bitrate of 120 kbps. This means that the file contains an average of 120 kilobits for each second of audio (900 KB per minute). This compares with CD audio which is encoded at 44100 16-bit stereo samples per second or 1408 kbps.

Last updated: 2003-05-19

Nearby terms:

bit patternbit planebit ratebit-robbingbit rotbit slice

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