How much hard disk space you will need for 4K video files

Published 
20 Feb 2012
Comparing 4K resolution

High resolution format looks set to require hundreds of gigabytes

Although there's no set standard for 4K video content yet, we've already got some idea as to how big 4K video files will be. During a recent hands-on with the Sony VW1000ES upcoming 4k projector, we managed to find out that an uncompressed 4k version of the trailer for The Amazing Spiderman takes up a whopping 500GB of hard disk space.

At this size, it would be impossible to fit a full-length 4K film onto a terabyte hard disk, let alone a 50GB Blu-ray. However, like Blu-ray video, 4K content will be compressed in order to fit onto more convenient optical media, rather than carried around on hard disks. We just don't know what that medium will be.

With a traditional Blu-ray providing 50GB, and BDXL discs capable of holding up to 120GB of data, the compression would have to be significant in order to squeeze in three hours of 4K content. BDXL also requires a compatible player that can read the higher density discs, so existing equipment will need to be upgraded. Whether compression of this magnitude can be achieved without introducing artefacts also remains to be seen, but there's plenty of time for the standard to be finalized - with no official way of transferring 4K content from storage to screen, it could be some time before we see 4K films on the shelves in HMV.

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