How Long Does YouTube Take to Process HD Video? | 2024

Written By Steven Arends

Time is money, but do you feel like you’re lodged between your work and YouTube’s processing of an HD video? Well, uploading a video is just half of the story. Your video must be processed to a compatible format before anyone can watch it.


In this article, I’m about to explain to you how much time is required for HD video processing on YouTube. So that next time you can schedule your timeline prudently.

Time Required to Process an HD Video on YouTube

An HD A.K.A 1080p video at 30fps takes 60 seconds to process 1 minute of footage. But it can vary depending on the video quality such as bit rate, codec, color depth, frame rate, etc. For example, HD footage with a lower bit rate can finish up processing within 30–45 seconds for each minute as well.

As per YouTube help, 1 hour of 4K 30fps takes 4 hours to complete the processing. Which is basically 4X more time than an HD video. It all makes sense if you look at the pixel count of a 4K and 1080p video.

See, 4K videos approximately have 4X more pixels in contrast to HD footage. Likewise, the processing time will reduce significantly for lower resolutions such as 720p, 480p, 360p, etc.

In addition to that, HD videos with higher bit rates, frame rates, and color information are comparatively larger. Which affects the processing time.

For a better understanding, let me give you a comparative insight.

Processing Time for a 1-minute video on YouTube:

ResolutionStandard FPS (30)High FPS (60)Bit Rate (Mbps) HDRProcessing Time (Seconds)
1080pYesN/A8No60 +/-
1080pN/AYes12No90 +/-
1080pYesN/A10Yes75 +/-
1080pN/AYes15Yes110 +/-
720pYesN/A5No38 +/-
720pN/AYes7.5No55 +/-
720pYesN/A6.5Yes50 +/-
720pN/AYes9.5Yes70 +/-
2160p(4K)YesN/A35-45No260-340 +/-
2160p(4K)N/AYes53-68No400- 510 +/-
2160p(4K)YesN/A44-56Yes330-420 +/-
2160p(4K)N/AYes66-85Yes495-640 +/-
Regardless of the numbers I’ve provided in the chart above, the processing time can still vary. But that will be within the margin of error. Do keep in mind that, incomplete processing can lead to audio issues.

Note: Processing time will scale up depending on the video duration and size, such as 20 or 30 mins. Take 1-minute timing as the base value.

Factors Determining HD Video Processing Time on YouTube

The audience wants to see good quality content with a higher resolution and clean image. It’s not like you upload a video, and instantly see a high-definition video. The YouTube server does the processing behind the scene.

There are, however, some factors responsible that influence HD video processing time on YouTube.factors-determining-hd-video-processing-time-in-youtube

Here are some factors to determine YouTube HD video processing time:

Video Quality

The actual merit of your video file, is the most important factor in determining the processing time on YouTube. It depends on three major components, resolution, frame rate, and bit rate. No surprise, these variables have a horizontal effect on the quality of your video and the processing time.


Resolution is generally known as the total number of pixels on the X-axis and Y-axis and their multiplied value. The Y-axis pixel count is used as the resolution identifier up until 4K. For example, 1920×1080 = 2073600 is the total number of pixels in an HD video, which is also labeled as the most popular 1080p video.

Processing time grows with pixel count. As a result, high-resolution videos take way longer to be viewable on YouTube.

Here are the most common and popular resolution types:

TypeCommon NamePixel Size
Full HD1080p1920×1080
Quad HD1440p2560×1440
Ultra HD4K3860×2160

Frame Rate

The number of still images that are rendered per second is the frame rate of a video. Maybe not the answer you were hoping for.

So, let me ask you, what is a video? Well, it’s the continuation of still images with audio alongside. Conventionally, on TV broadcasts or in cinemas, 24 frames are rendered in 1 second. Which makes all those motions and life-like footage.

In the modern era, though, 30,50, and 60-fps videos are widely popular. Higher FPS videos are typically high in quality and provide a satisfying feeling to the viewer. And, as it happens, the processing time increases with the frame rate of a video on YouTube.


It calculates the amount of data transmitted in a unit of time. In the tech industry, it is measured in bits per second unit, such as Mbps (Megabits per second) or Kbps (Kilo bits per second). If the bit rate is high, the quality of your video file will be superior.bitrate

For example, 8Mbps is perceived much lower than a 10mbps video. Bit rate also affects the size of the file. So YouTube will take a much longer time to process a high bit rate video.

Video Length

If your video is very long along with good resolution, frame rate, and bit rate, YouTube will take a longer time to process HD video. As the file size increases, the processing time also increases. For 15–20 minutes of HD video, YouTube generally takes 15–20 minutes to process.

Video Format

YouTube supports various file formats such as HEVC(h265), CineForm, ProRes, DNxHR, WebM, 3GPP, FLV, MPEG PS, WMV< AVI, MP4, MPEG4, MOV. YouTube processing time widely varies according to the file

But MP4 format is worthwhile given that it can produce good quality footage in a modest file size. Hence, it takes a shorter time to process an HD video.

How to Improve YouTube’s Processing Speed?

The preset you use when exporting a video directly impacts the processing time on YouTube. Video bit rate, color profiles such as sRGB, and Adobe RGB, encoders like H.264, H.265, frame rates, etc., are all the values you choose in the first place.

For example, if you select a high bit rate such as 20Mbps, it will take more time to be processed on YouTube. You’ve probably selected it to obtain high-quality footage for the audience, but the algorithm will still compress it anyway. So always try to use the YT recommended bit rate for your video.

Now, let’s talk a bit about the frame rate. Some users go overboard with it. Remember no matter how smooth you want your videos to be and export your video in high fps such as 90 or 120hz, YT is limited to 60fps. So all of your efforts will go in vain.

On top of that, a much longer time will be elapsed while making it web compatible. My recommendation is to stay between 30 to 60fps.

I’m happy to inform you that, with newer generation desktop graphics cards such as Nvidia RTX 4000 series, AMD RX 7000 series, and Intel Arc series, the AV1 encoder has been introduced to the mainstream market.

It delivers much clear footage at a low bit rate compared to conventional H.264 or H.265 encoding. Although it is marketed heavily for streaming. If you find this encoding option in the latest software update on video editing applications such as Da Vinci Resolve, Adobe Premiere Pro, etc., don’t forget to take advantage of it.

How does YouTube Process Hd Videos?

So, when you first upload a video on YouTube, it does not directly appear to be playable media. But why is that?

Let’s say you’ve uploaded a 4K video. YT algorithm will first compress the video and then make several copies of it in different resolutions and formats such as 144p, 240p, 360p, 480p, 720p, 1080p, 1440p, and 4K in MP4, WebM or MKV.

This helps users from anywhere in the world to view the video without buffering. That’s because not everywhere is a high-speed connection available. So from a remote area where the internet is superfluous, the content will still be visible without a hitch.

YouTube’s Content Distribution Network (CDN) is also involved in the entire process. This is, basically, a chain of data centers set up by Google in different locations worldwide. So that a user can access content as fast as possible, generating a continuous experience.


How Long Does a 20-minute Video Take to Process on YouTube?

A 20minute long 1080p HD video at 30fps will take at least 18–20 minutes to be processed on YouTube. But if the resolution, bit rate, and frame rate increase, the processing time will be greater.

How Long Does A 4K Video Take to Process on YouTube?

4K 30fps video can take up to 4 minutes to process for each minute of footage. With a frame rate bump such as 60fps, the time required will increase even more.


So that’s all about HD video processing on YouTube. Hope you have enjoyed it. If you have any further questions or inquiries, don’t forget to comment down below. Have a nice day!

About The Author
Steven Arends is a computer science graduate and tech enthusiast with over 10 years of experience in the field. He has a vast collection of computer hardware and loves exploring the latest advancements. As a contributing author to 10Scopes, Steven shares his expertise to make the world of technology more accessible and easier to understand for all readers.

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