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What are the differences between the COMMUNICATION and LIVE_BROADCASTING profiles?

This article applies to the Agora Video SDK Native SDK only.

To apply optimization algorithms for different real-time engagement scenarios, Agora provides a setChannelProfile method for the Video SDK channel. You can use this method to set the channel profile as either CHANNEL_PROFILE_COMMUNICATION or CHANNEL_PROFILE_LIVE_BROADCASTING.

These two channel profiles differ in the following aspects:

  • User role setting.
  • The default audio route.
  • The default video encoding bitrate.

User role

An Video SDK channel differentiates users by roles. Once a user joins a channel, the user can be either of the following:

  • A host, who can both publish and subscribe to streams.
  • An audience member, who can subscribe to streams only.

The default user role in different channel profiles are different:

  • CHANNEL_PROFILE_COMMUNICATION: Host. You cannot change the user role.
  • CHANNEL_PROFILE_LIVE_BROADCASTING: Audience. You can call setClientRole to change the user role.

In scenarios involving co-host token authentication, if a user joins a channel with the token of a subscriber, calling setClientRole alone does not take effect. For details, see How can I use co-host token authentication.

Audio route

The default audio route refers to the route that audio data takes within a device, such as the speakerphone or earpiece of a mobile phone.

On Android and iOS, Agora uses different default audio routes depending on the channel profile:

    • In a voice call, the default audio route is the earpiece.
    • In a video call, the default audio route is the speakerphone.
  • CHANNEL_PROFILE_LIVE_BROADCASTING: The default audio route is the speakerphone.

Video encoding bitrate

The bitrate member in the setVideoEncoderConfiguration method sets the video encoding bitrate. Given the same resolution and frame rate, when you set bitrate as the default value, STANDARD_BITRATE(0), the value of the encoding bitrate in the LIVE_BROADCASTING profile doubles that in the COMMUNICATION profile.

In the following table, the base bitrate applies to the COMMUNICATION profile, while the live bitrate applies to LIVE_BROADCASTING.

Resolution (px)Frame rate (fps)Base bitrate (Kbps)Live bitrate (Kbps)
160 × 1201565130
320 × 18015140280
640 × 360306001,200
848 × 480309301,860

The values of bitrate in the table above are for reference only. For the detailed video profile table, see API Reference.

Based on the differences above, Agora recommends setting the channel profile according to your scenario:

  • In scenarios such as one-to-one call or group call, set the channel profile as CHANNEL_PROFILE_COMMUNICATION.
  • In scenarios such as chatrooms, small classes, lecture halls, or interactive video streaming, set the channel profile as CHANNEL_PROFILE_LIVE_BROADCASTING.