YouTube is testing 1080p Premium streaming

A thread on Reddit has highlighted some upcoming changes to the world’s largest video streaming platform. Some YouTube viewers are seeing a new option for video quality, labelled 1080p Premium, with a note saying it offers “Enhanced bitrate.” A Google spokesperson has confirmed that YouTube is testing the new video quality, which is currently available to “a small group of YouTube Premium subscribers.”

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The company has described the new quality as an “enhanced bitrate version of 1080p which provides more information per pixel that results in a higher quality viewing experience.” It seems that this streaming option will only be available for Premium subscribers. With the vast amount of money it costs YouTube to host the data centres that stores the billions of hours of YouTube content uploaded every day, YouTube Premium will most likely start to get more features specific to the paid model. There have been rumours that 4K streaming will also only be available to YouTube Premium subscribers, but this has been debunked by the company.

Based on several comments on the Reddit thread discussing the test, viewers find the standard 1080p resolution on the website to be poor in quality. But a higher bitrate, which is used as a measurement for the amount of video data transferred within a certain timeframe, could mean getting better images without having to bump up the resolution.

The enhanced 1080p option is just a test feature at this point, though, and YouTube might not approve it for a wide rollout at all. If it does make its way out of the experimental phase, only viewers paying for YouTube Premium will be able to access it.

Interestingly, even though the ad-based model is very lucrative for YouTube, the company is trying to move towards subscriptions more and more. It is also better for content creators – if you watch ad-free content as a YouTube Premium subscriber the creators get a larger cut of the revenue compared to ads.