A few months ago, Google faced a lot of backlash for testing an option that would enable only subscribers of its costly Premium service to view YouTube content in 4K. Much of this uproar stemmed from the fact that this capability was already being offered for free. While the company ended this controversial experiment eventually, it is now seemingly testing another option for Premium subscribers.
Several YouTube users have spotted a "1080p Premium" option during video playback. The subtitle below the option mentions "Enhanced bitrate". While this is somewhat self-explanatory, a YouTube spokesperson told The Verge that:
1080p Premium is an enhanced bitrate version of 1080p which provides more information per pixel that results in a higher quality viewing experience. There are no changes to the existing quality offerings for 1080p (HD) resolution on YouTube.
While the resolution you are playing the video at is important, so is the bitrate. For those unaware, bitrate is the measure of how much video information is being transferred per second.
It seems like the new option will allow Premium subscribers to view 1080p videos at a higher quality as compared to standard users. YouTube's statement seems to emphasize that no changes are being made to the existing offerings, which means that the new option would be a way to entice users into upgrading to a YouTube Premium subscription.
It is important to note that a higher bitrate necessitates a higher bandwidth too. It's expensive for both YouTube to stream it as well as your device to consume. As such, it makes sense on paper if this option is locked behind a paywall. That said, YouTube has not confirmed if it will be exclusive to Premium subscribers (the branding certainly implies it) or what the maximum bitrate will be.
Source: The Verge
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