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.
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