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Google might force users to pay for Premium to watch videos in 4K on YouTube

YouTube logo against a black and red background

Google's attempts to convert customers into YouTube Premium subscribers is a running joke in the community. The company is trying hard with multiple banners promoting Premium, and the increase of non-skippable ads content creators can use in their videos could also be seen by one as a low-blow attempt to get more subscribers. It appears that Google has figured out yet another way to force you to consider buying Premium. A lengthy thread on Reddit reveals the company's plan to make 4K video streaming exclusive to YouTube Premium.

Redditor u/Ihatesmokealarms posted a screenshot from the YouTube app on iPhone showing the 2160p (4K) option marked as "Premium" with a "Tap to upgrade link." Some other users in the thread reported similar findings on their devices. We have checked YouTube apps on our devices (signed in and out) and could not confirm the claim.

The YouTube app on iOS showing the 4K quality hidden behind a paywall

Google is yet to confirm its intentions to make 4K streaming Premium-exclusive. Most likely, the company is experimenting with the change to see the public reaction and decide whether making 4K videos exclusive to YouTube Premium is a good idea or not (spoiler: it is not). We also do not know whether Google wants to put 4K behind a paywall only on smartphones, or if the change targets any device capable of playing YouTube videos.

Although some might rightfully argue that nobody uses 4K streaming on their smartphones, making the high-resolution option a paid perk will undoubtedly upset those watching YouTube on TVs and computers.

Would you subscribe to YouTube Premium just to keep the ability to play 4K videos? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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