Acronym for Variable Bit Rate. A compression scheme in which each unit of input material can be compressed to different sizes. For MPEG-2 video, for example, this means that "easier" sequences (that is, with no motion) can compress to very small sizes, whereas "hard" sequences (with lots of motion and scene cuts) can compress to much larger sizes. VBR compression can take better advantage of the overall available bandwidth of a video transmission or DVD player by allocating the available bits intelligently to the difficult parts of a sequence. See also CBR.