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How Much Video Can My Security DVR Hold?

Use the following form to get a general idea of how much HDD space you will need for a MPEG4 security DVR .


1. This form assumes your DVR uses MPEG4 compression. If your DVR uses H264 compression, click HERE for a different calculator (H264 compression modified).

2. Please note the storage space calculated by this form can be considered ONLY as a ballpark figure. Your surveillance environment may effect the storage space you need and there is no way this form can take into account all possible variables. This form makes general assumptions based upon your input and calculates drive space accordingly.

3. Calculation is based on MPEG4 video compression. If you use older schema then INCREASE the size of the HDD it suggests. When using H264 and newer compression techniques, the size indicated will be larger (perhaps much larger) than the size that is actually required.



MPEG4 Security DVR
Hard Disk Drive Storage Form

How many days (total) of video do you plan on storing?
Total number of security cameras recording?
What is the frames per second (FPS or IPS) setting on each camera?  
How many hours a day are you recording?
How many days of the week will the DVR usually be operating?
We suggest this much storage space:

CALCULATION: This form assumes MPEG4 or similar compression. Click here for help with H264 compression.

FRAME RATE: 1 FPS (or IPS) is the lowest frame rate possible. 30 FPS (or IPS) is the maximum rate (real time). 1 FPS is the frame rate commonly associated with older analog surveillance systems (VCR based). You can always rewind or review your recordings at higher speed. Most people find a frame rate of 3-5 per second is sufficient and will not miss any activity.

REAL TIME (30 FPS): Most people discover there is little need to record in real time. Some installations have regulatory reasons to operate at 30 FPS/IPS or faster (government facilities and casinos, for instance). Residential surveillance installations rarely - if ever - require that frame rate.



Frequently asked questions concerning security DVR files and drive size (storage space):

Does the type of camera effect the size of the video file?

Yes. Color cameras and higher resolution cameras provide more data so file sizes will be slightly larger than B/W cameras and lower resolution cameras. The form assumes color cameras at 420-line resolution.

Do good cameras make better video files?

Yes. A "good" camera will provide a clean signal that is free of data artifacts and noise so the file created by the DVR does not have to store the noise and non-essential data, making overall files sizes smaller (again, this usually won't make a huge difference in the calculation given above).

Will audio increase file size?

Yes. You may want to add a few Gigabytes (2-50, depending on total number of days) if you want to store audio as well as video. All of our security DVRs feature at least one audio input. Audio data is stored along with video data in the same file.

What's the easiest way to maximize storage space?

Set all cameras to record using motion detect functions. That way you'll only record video when something is happening. This simple suggestion will increase your storage space dramatically. After all, there is little useful information in recording an empty room for 15 hours. All of our security DVRs can be programmed for motion detection.





Useage Advisory

This page is provided as a convenient tool for selecting lenses. Due to the large number of unpredictable factors in every surveillance environment, the calculation can not be assumed to be exact. Use caution when selecting a lens. We suggest that you always purchase a lens with a greater field of view than this calculation indicates. 

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