Continuous streaming is the bane of all data plans. Even in our current world of advanced and quick internet (at least in developed areas), you always run the risk of depleting all your allocated data simply due to the large GBs of high-quality videos. So, the question is: how much GB for 1-hour video you need?
On average, at least, an hour of 1080p video would have 1.2GB to 1.4GB of data. This can be reduced further by a fair amount depending on the encoding formats of your preferred streaming service. The equivalent media scales down to 800MB for 720Pp or scales up to 20GB for 4K.
What about resolutions below 720p? Do certain apps significantly affect the raw size per play time of streamed content? How does this play out with my regular phone use? Answers to these other questions and more are below.
How Much GB Is 1 Hour of 240p Video?
According to Android Central, one hour of low-quality 240p video is equivalent to approximately 0.3GB, or 300MB.  For typical situations, the sound quality of the video is not affected even in 240p, so it contributes to a significant portion of the data size. At least, when compared to higher resolutions.
Videos in 240p are still acceptable if the content is purely for entertainment and does not require looking at written text. Therefore, even in 2023, they are still quite convenient in keeping data usage to an extreme minimum.
How Much GB Is 1 Hour of 360p Video?
Using the same source, one hour of the much better 360p video is equivalent to around 0.5GB, or 500MB. As low as 360p is considered today, it is still a significant quality jump compared to 240p, with pixelation of the screen significantly less apparent.
If you are confident that your continued use of streaming services will not affect data plans, 360p is a nice balanced option to keep. The resolution appears clear enough for vertically oriented viewing (where the video is at the upper edge of the app), with written text much clearer to understand.
How Much GB Is 1 Hour of 480p Video?
Yet again with the same source, an hour of a 480p video is equated to 0.7GB, or 700MB. The 480p resolution jumps into the category of standard definition (SD) video, which was the dominant resolution for many video output hardware during the early 2000s.
For most modern data plans on phones, this generally provides the best balance of data efficiency and picture clarity. Finer written text should still be legible on 480p, and the smaller size of phones will not be bothered with the loss of detail even if it is not strictly HD. Needless to say, the experience will not be the same when viewed on larger screens such as PC monitors.
How Much GB Is 1 Hour of 720p Video?
Moving along, one hour of 720p video bumps the data amount to about 0.9GB, or 900MB per hour. This is the minimum resolution territory for high-definition (HD) videos. In fact, the standard is still so widely accepted today, that there are still many lower-end phones released with 1280×800 resolution screens.
This is the perfect resolution when viewing fullscreen content with still a bit of data saving on the side. Individual pixels might be noticed here and there on 1080p and 1440p phones. But the problem only becomes too bothersome when screen artifacting occurs due to the presence of too many particles on the screen.
How Much GB Is 1 Hour of 1080p Video?
For 1080p, an hour of video becomes equal to around 1.5GB. Thanks to faster internet today, 1080p is considered the primary mainstream resolution for regular content viewing today. It currently sits in the middle of the HD quality line, and would continue to be relevant due to the physical screen limitations of any portable device with a screen.
For people with meager data budgets, 1080p videos could easily eat up your entire capacity without warning. Enjoy the crisp picture detail, but don’t forget to always check the phone’s data usage statistics.
How Much GB Is 1 Hour of 1440p Video?
At 1440p, a single hour of the video turns into a whopping 3GB of data. 1440p is the upper-end of the HD territory, also known as quad-high-definition (QHD) or 2K. This is a resolution technically restricted only to phones with screens that can support it. The same goes for similar supporting monitors.
1440p videos’ added detail may still be appreciable or noticeable on 1080p screens. But the significantly added data use is beyond diminishing returns for any data plan with capacity limits. Consider subscribing to an unlimited data plan, or connect the phone to an unlimited WiFi network, if you want to continue watching 2K videos.
How Much GB Is 1 Hour of 4k Video?
4K tremendously increases the threshold of video data, with an hour equivalent to a gigantic 7.2GB on average. This is the ultra-high-definition (UHD) territory, where 1080p becomes a minuscule 16:9 rectangle, and where data plans might even dry out before you reach the one-hour mark.
As there are very, very few phones that support 4K even in 2023, this resolution is restricted only to larger monitor viewing. Even if it is supported on a phone, if you don’t have any unlimited plans, it is never worth spending on. Besides, 4K isn’t even that appreciable when viewed on a smartphone’s relatively tiny screen. No matter how crisp or how detailed the picture could get.
How Much GB Is 1 Hour of 8k Video?
Finally, an hour 8K video scales up to a gargantuan 38GB, due to how the number of pixels exponentially scales up with the screen’s expanded width and length. This information isn’t really helpful for the average phone user at any level right now. But it is a good way to compare just how gigantic the differences are at this point.
Consider this a reference if you ever start seeing 8K television on regular homes in the near future.
How Much GB Is 1 Hour Video on iPhone and Android phones?
With no scaling restrictions set, the latest few versions of iPhone and most mainstream Android phones will use 1.5GB per hour. This is inferred directly from the default resolution of the phones, which is more or less at or near the 1080p resolution (1170×2532 and 1080×2460 respectively).
Other specific models, like the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, can support resolutions up to 4K, so 7.2GB per hour. While lower-end phones, like the Nokia G10, will only use 0.9GB with its 720×1600 screen.
Of course, certain limitations such as signal and data plans also apply. These can decrease can the default resolution, and therefore GB per hour, depending on what the phone can handle at the moment.