How Many Hours of 4K Video Can A Hard Drive Hold?

The number of hours of 4K video depends on several factors including bit rate, encoding and hard drive size.

As an example, a 1 TB drive will hold up to 111 hours of 4K video when the bit rate is 20 Mbps. At higher bit rates it will hold shorter durations.


We designed a calculator to give a more precise answer.

To use it,

  • enter the size of the hard drive and
  • use the slider to select the bit rate



Table of Hard Drive Size vs Hours of 4K video

For a bit rate of 50 Mbps here are the number of hours of 4K video that can be stored for different hard drive sizes

Hard Drive SizeHours of 4K video
256 GB11.5
512 GB23
1 TB44.5
2 TB89
4 TB178
8 TB356

What determines the number of hours of video?

The amount of 4K video a hard drive can hold depends on several factors, including the video’s bit rate, the encoding format (e.g., H.264, H.265), and the hard drive’s capacity.

Bit rate measured in megabits per second (Mbps), significantly affects file size: higher bit rates mean higher quality video but larger file sizes.

Encoding can vary widely depending on the resolution of the video (e.g., 1080p, 4K), the frame rate, the content of the video (like the amount of motion or complexity in the scene), and the desired quality of the output. As an example, H.265 is known for its efficiency, typically offers similar quality to H.264 at roughly half the bitrate.

For 4K HDR video, bit rates might start around 44 Mbps, with higher quality bit rates going up to 85 Mbps.

Recommended Hard Drive Capacity for 4K

The larger the hard drive size, the longer the duration of the video. Here are some recommended hard drive sizes for 4K video depending on your application

ApplicationRecommended Hard Drive
Consumers and Hobbyists2 TB – 4 TB
Professional Video Editors4 TB – 20 TB
Content Creators4 TB – 20 TB

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