How Many GB for a 2-Hour Video?

How Many GB for a 2-Hour Video?

Streaming services offer a seemingly never-ending massive library of high-quality movies and TV series. But as you see a beautiful High Definition picture on your giant screen, it’s easy to worry about data limits. So how many gigabytes of data does a two-hour video use?

A standard HD video will use about six gigabytes of data over two hours. 4K or 8K will be significantly higher, with 8K using about 72 gigabytes over the same period.

We’ll look at some statistics from streaming services to see estimates of data usage, as well as looking at the factors that can help you quickly calculate how much data you’re using depending on the type of video you’re watching.

How Much Data Will a 2-Hour Video Use?

How Much Data Will a 2-Hour Video Use?
How Much Data Will a 2-Hour Video Use?

There is enormous variability in how big a two-hour video will be. A two-hour video on a streaming service will be significantly different in size depending on quality factors.

It has become easier to see exactly how much data is used by using services like Netflix. Netflix offers data usage settings in their app, meaning you can select from four settings to control how much information is used per hour.

By using different profiles on Netflix, you will get a standard amount of data used. For example, a 720p video is likely to use about 3 gigabytes per hour on the High setting, in High Definition.

Please see some of our other interesting articles like “What Is 8K on a Smartphone’s Camera?” and “Is Google Drive Safe for Your Photos?”

1080P, 4k, and 8K Compared

1080P, 4k, and 8K compared, and why does it matter? 8K and the number of pixels and frames per second specified means that it requires a tremendous amount of bandwidth compared with 4K or 1080P. 8K requires up to 120 Frames Per Second (FPS), and 4K only requires half that number of frames per second.

With 8K technology still being in the early stages of development, it is expected that in future as frame rates and color depth increases, requirements will grow to reach 300 Mbit/s.

Huawei Corporate White Paper-Big Data Video Top Ten Most Demanding Videos

Understanding 1080P, 4K, and 8K in terms of megapixels. Pixels are the dots that make up a video image. K in the 4 or 8 equals 1,000, so the name came from meaning anything with a width of 4000 or 8000 pixels. The more pixels you have, the sharper the image in your videos or digital pictures.

8K is four times the resolution of 4K, which is four times the resolution of 1080p. 8K resolution is growing in popularity, and 16K is not available to the average consumer. Depending on the Resolution, Refresh Rate, Color Bit Depth, and Chroma Sampling, these numbers can change dramatically.

Video ResolutionPixels RatioEquationFramerate Video
Bitrate
Data used per
minute or second
Resolution Magnifier
1080P Defined1920×
1080 
Equates to 1,920 pixels15–303-9 Mbps50-70 MBPM720P is only slightly better than 480p
4K Defined3840 × 2160 Equates to 8 megapixels30-6013-50 Mbps95-385 MBPM4 times as many pixels as 1080P resolution
8K Defined7680 × 4320 Equates to 33 megapixels30-6020-50 Mbps17-128 GBPS approximately4 times as many pixels as 1080P resolution
16K Defined15360 × 8640 Equates to 132.7 megapixels30-60Encoded 300 MbpsA standard film is projected to be over 100 terabytes16 times as many pixels as 4K resolution
*Minimum resolution for HD

Streaming Over the Internet

Streaming Over the Internet
Streaming Over the Internet

If you are streaming a video on an HD TV or computer, you can expect to use around six gigabytes of data over two hours. Adjusting the quality settings up and down will drastically change the amount of data used. 

If your internet connection is good but has a low data cap, leaving your setting to Auto may be risky. You will get the best quality, and therefore data-intensive, picture, but burn through data.

The figures for YouTube streaming 8K video content over the internet are approximately 36 gigabytes of data used per hour. 

On the other end of the scale, for a 240p video, two hours will add up to 80 megabytes of data, or 0.08 gigabytes.

For a very rough calculation, you can multiply the video’s length by the bitrate to get a per-hour data usage. As bit rates use different units (bits versus bytes), divide the final figure by 8 to get it into gigabytes. 

How To Do Your Own Video Size Calculation

First, it’s essential to understand the many variables that will go into calculating a video’s size. These key factors are video bitrate, bit depth, the type of codec used, resolution, and frame rate. 

Fundamentally, data size is measured by the number of bits. The pixel is the smallest unit that makes up a video’s image. As will be discussed below, pixels usually are 24 bits each.

Video Bitrate

The video bitrate is a reflection of the quantity of data required for video in one single second. You can calculate a video’s bitrate by looking at some variables, one of these is the resolution of the video.

A higher video bitrate will mean more data is being transmitted per second. You can find specific information about each of the streaming service’s respective bitrates to get this information; however, keep in mind that these figures are being adjusted constantly.

Bit Depth

The other factors adding to the data are bit depth. Bit depth reflects the color possibilities of a single pixel. A 1-bit image is one of the most basic pictures possible, only showing two colors: black and white.

As you increase the bit depth, more colors, and detail are possible, increasing the data size. The multiplication effects mean that a 24-bit image can display over 16 million colors as you go higher on the bit count.

As the bit depth increases, the image’s file size also increases because more color information has to be stored for each pixel in the picture.

Video Codecs

Video codecs are video compression standards helpful in compressing large files down without compromising quality. As codec technology has improved, it is possible to have a very high-quality video that is significantly smaller than in the past.

The stripped-down version is that encoding is compression, while codecs are the tool for compression.

There are many different codecs, but there has been a convergence toward the more successful codecs that allow optimal compression while still maintaining most of the original video. Some of the more common ones are MPEG-4 and H.264, used by YouTube and others.

Video Resolution

A resolution is generally two figures and determines the number of pixels in your video. More pixels mean typically more detail is rendered, but also more data is needed. 

  • The common resolutions are based around the standard ratio of 16:9, which you’ll find is the most common ratio amongst television and computer screens. This means you get resolutions like 1920 x 1080, 1280 x 720, 896 x 504, and 640 x 360.
  • High Definition starts at 1280 x 720, and Full High Definition is at 1920 x 1080. These are also referred to by their second numbers, such as 720p and 1080p. The vast majority of TV and computer screens will be in both of these resolutions, although 4K and 8K screens are rising.
  • Recent innovations like 4K and 8K resolutions still follow this 16:9 resolution, but of course, the vertical and horizontal numbers are much larger. There are many variations, but you’re looking at resolutions like 7680 x 4320 for 8K, and 4224 x 2376 for 4K.
  • There are also 16:10 aspect ratios on the 4K, and 8K ranges to allow a slightly different picture angle.
  • All of this will affect data size, as a higher resolution reflects more pixels per frame. The more pixels needed to make up the picture, the more data is required to be used.
  • In the end, streaming on a standard screen will be either 720p or 1080p, so you’re looking at 3 gigabytes or so an hour. Check the settings when streaming to ensure you aren’t streaming in too high a quality to use all your data.

Frame Rate

Lastly, one of the other significant contributors to file size is the frame rate. Video cameras record multiple individual video picture images called frames. Frame rate comes in different standards of frames per second or fps.  Most video cameras use the standard frame rate of 24fps, but they also come in other settings like 25fps, 30fps, 60fps, and 120fp. 

When you watch a video, the frames are played back and appear to be in motion. Frame rate is the measurement of the number of frames viewed within one second and is classified as FPS (frames per second).

Frame rates can be varied to allow different viewing experiences. Higher frame rates tend to capture more detail and mean the video is crisp and smooth, but this is at the cost of a much larger file.

This factor means that specific videos will be smaller in file size just by their nature. Certain animated shows tend to have less movement, whereas videos showcasing lots of activity like sports will. When you want to capture a higher amount of detail, more data is needed by increasing the file size. 

Conclusion

How Many GB for a 2-Hour Video Conclusion

While the various streaming services use different compression methods, the figures will not differ dramatically depending on what service you use. Many of these services allow you to force use wireless only instead of cellular data. Still, the quality of your streaming provided by your internet service provider and the format you are using affect how many Gigabytes you use.

If you are serious about keeping under your data cap, this is one of the best ways to get both a stable, high-quality picture, as well as not blasting through gigabytes of data getting through the latest season on Amazon Prime. Happy viewing!

References:

John Mortensen

I am a project manager, tech writer, and science enthusiast who loves to study the latest technology, such as AI, comedy, quantum computers, smartphones, headphones, and software.

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