YouTube’s 1080p has been the standard way to watch videos for years now. Fourteen years, to be precise. The resolution launched in 2009, which seems an awfully long time ago. It only feels like yesterday that users were limited to watching videos in 480p, or, heaven help us, the dreaded 360p.
We first learned of YouTube’s new enhanced bitrate option back in February when an eagle-eyed Reddit user noted that the option was available on specific videos. In April, the social media giant announced they would begin testing the feature on iOS. Now, they’re rolling out the feature to everyone, making it available on desktop.
The new resolution, named ‘1080p Premium’, promises higher video quality, reduced compression, and crisper visuals. These improvements will be most apparent in videos with lots of motion where light is low.
Unfortunately, like many great things in the world, 1080p Premium is locked behind a paywall (the clue is in the ‘Premium’). Users must subscribe to YouTube Premium, which costs an increasingly expensive $13.99/month, before they can make the switch.
The new 1080p upgrade is another deal-sweetener in YouTube’s efforts to entice users to upgrade to YouTube Premium. The Google-owned corporation previously attempted to make 4k (2160p) an exclusive premium feature, but this was met with powerful retaliation from the community, causing YouTube to reverse the change promptly.
Now, YouTube is seemingly searching for new ways to convert users to Premium without alienating its free user base. A smart move, considering only 80 million of Youtube’s estimated 2.86 billion active users subscribe to the paid service.
As of now, the enhanced resolution is only accessible on certain videos. We expect this to change as YouTube gradually tests and improves the feature. The company is also rolling out the update on video game consoles and Chromecasts.
Robert is an experienced marketing professional with extensive experience working with brands to refine go-to-market plans, SEO campaigns, and content marketing strategies. A committed writer with a keen eye on the latest developments, Robert specialises in producing content across all things tech and marketing.