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YouTube Tests ‘1080p Premium’ Video Quality

YouTube logo with some 50 dollar bills.

YouTube is testing new 1080p video quality for YouTube Premium subscribers. Reddit users first spotted the “1080p Premium” quality option, then confirmed by YouTube executives to The Verge. The new quality tier features an enhanced bitrate that improves the quality of the HD video.

A screen grab of YouTube video quality options featuring "1080p Premium" at the top.
u/KZedUK / Reddit

Only a “small group of YouTube Subscribers of YouTube Premium” have access to 1080p Premium, according to YouTube spokesperson Paul Pennington speaking to The Verge. He explained further, “1080p Premium is an enhanced bitrate version of 1080p which provides more information per pixel that results in a higher quality viewing experience.”

Before Pennington spoke to The Verge, some speculated that the appearance of 1080p Premium signaled that YouTube planned to downgrade the video quality of non-paying YouTube users in an effort to get them to subscribe to YouTube Premium. Pennington addressed those concerns by saying, “there are no changes to the existing quality offerings for 1080p (HD) resolution on YouTube.”

A video’s bitrate has a profound impact on its quality. A higher bitrate means that more information per pixel is being transmitted from YouTube’s servers to your device. YouTube varies the bitrate on its videos for various reasons, mostly to save on bandwidth for both the company and the end user. If YouTube streamed all its videos at the bitrate uploaded to every viewer, the company would face a colossal bandwidth expense, and many users would exceed mobile data caps.

Source: The Verge

Danny Chadwick Danny Chadwick
Danny has been a technology journalist since 2008. He served as senior writer, as well as multimedia and home improvement editor at Top Ten Reviews until 2019. Since then, he has been a freelance contributor to Lifewire and ghostwriter for Fit Small Business. His work has also appeared on Laptop Mag, Tom’s Guide, and business.com. Read Full Bio »