YouTube is trying its best to make YouTube Premium appealing to users by throwing whatever features it can at it. In some cases, at the expense of non-paying customers. In the company’s latest attempts, it has enhanced the quality of 1080p on the platform and has hidden the option behind the subscription paywall.
The move seems a bit desperate as you’d think the company would focus on higher resolutions when it comes to paywall features. While maintaining a constantly growing 1080p experience for everyone else for competitive purposes (since it is seen as such a standard/average resolution).
Thankfully, YouTube’s current 1080p quality looks just fine on most monitors. It could be better as YouTube really does compress video a lot (we see it every day between the video we shoot in the studio and while remote, and the end product online), but it is fine for what is seen as a free service for most. However, this leaves a lot of wiggle room for competition to slide in with something better (assuming they have enough assets to compete against a giant like YouTube).
Of course, this has spurred a lot of hearsay around the internet as some users misinterpreted these announcements. Assuming that YouTube was making 1080p, in general, a premium-only feature. This isn’t the case though. Instead, the company is keeping the current 1080p quality the way it is (free) and simply enhancing it for paid customers (a higher bitrate). At least, this is what they are claiming. This doesn’t mean they won’t try to dumb down standard 1080p for everyone eventually as a final desperate attempt to get people to pay (they have tried taking features away before for the same reasons).
At the moment, there is no information on the exact bitrate increase that Premium users will see. Regardless, if you plan to subscribe, it would be wise to ensure your internet package has plenty of bandwidth to spare. An increase in bitrate will definitely affect how much bandwidth you spend each month.