We've had a lot of questions regarding Google Stadia, and with today's reveal of some of the core specs and requirements, we now finally have some answers. But I'm focused on the streaming requirements, and specifically video bitrates:
Google says it can provide a steady 60fps 4K stream with a bitrate of 35Mbps. That's the high end of the streaming requirements, while 1080p at 60fps drops the bandwidth to 20Mbps, and 720p 60fps requires just 10Mbps. That works out to around 15.75GB per hour of 4K streaming, 9GB per hour of 1080p, or 4.5GB per hour at 720p.
That's about what we expected, though as with all streaming services, if you plan to use it a lot and don't have an unlimited data plan, you'll want to exercise caution. Even with a 1TB data plan (which is what I have from Comcast), that's 65 hours of streaming per month at 4K. And that's assuming I don't do anything else on the internet. At 1080p60, it comes to 113 hours of streaming per month, assuming no other data usage.
There's usually not much point in streaming at 4K on a lower resolution display, though with games you should get some anti-aliasing benefits. Google did reiterate that all streaming is intended to happen at 60fps, to keep things smooth, which is a nice change of pace from the 30fps standard some games like to target for consoles.
Google didn't dig into all the other facets of Stadia, but a Stadia Pro subscription will include 5.1 surround sound support while free Stadia accounts, which are coming next year, will only have stereo audio and will be limited to a 1080p or lower stream.
Stadia will launch later this year, and there's currently a list of 25 games, though we don't know how many of them will be available at launch, or how much they'll cost. The Stadia Founder's Edition will include a Chromecast Ultra, Stadia controller, and three months of Stadia Pro for $129.