YouTube is making 4K videos a Premium-only feature for some users

midian182

Posts: 8,315   +103
Staff member
WTF?! It might sound like a terrible idea, but YouTube could start charging users who want to watch videos on the platform in 4K, making the resolution exclusive to its $12-per-month Premium service. There's no confirmation that owner Google will go down this route as it could only be a test to gauge reaction, though such a move would obviously cause a lot of anger from creators and viewers alike.

As reported by MacRumors, users on Reddit and YouTube have been posting screenshots of the 2160p/4K resolution option for YouTube videos showing as a feature available only to YouTube Premium subscribers, seemingly adding another benefit alongside the lack of ads to its $12 pm/$120 per year service.

We don't know if this is a test among a limited subset of users in various countries or something Google has now started rolling out—this writer can still access 4K videos on standard YouTube. There's also the possibility that it was some unintentional error on YouTube's part (or a hoax), but that seems unlikely.

The last big news from YouTube Premium was that subscribers could claim a Stadia gaming bundle for free. Google's streaming service announced it would be closing in January, and it is offering full refunds for most Stadia hardware and software purchases, so perhaps YouTube Premium is looking at other ways of attracting new subscribers. Google says it has 50 million subs combined across YouTube Premium and Music, which pales in comparison to big players such as Netflix.

While the plan would likely send some people to YouTube Premium, it's hard to imagine it'd be enough to make the outcry worthwhile. And what would be the next YouTube Premium-exclusive feature? HDR videos? 60 frames per second? The latest Steam survey shows that few participants have 4K monitors, but many people use the YouTube app on their 4K/HDR smart televisions.

This could all be part of Google revamping YouTube Premium with new features now that Stadia isn't going to be a focus—we might even see the service's price drop. But would you be willing to pay for YouTube, even if it's free of ads and comes in 4K?

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McMurdeR

Posts: 606   +826
I originally got a YouTube sub to watch Cobra Kai. Then I held onto it for the music sub which was one thing and now it's something else.. but that mercifully seems to have sorted itself out.

The truth of the matter is that it's Google who has precisely no idea what it is that it is offering me!

Google is ADHD on a corporate scale.
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,793   +5,971
I get endless entertainment from YouTube. They have lots of long format videos on topics interested and I certainly see value in that. $12/m seems like a lot considering all the other streaming services. If you want me pay for something you have to make it cheap enough that adblock is nolonger a convient solution.

For me, that price is around $5/m. Instead of running YouTube directly from the TV I connect it to my PC and run ad block. $5/m is what using my TV natively with YouTube is worth
 

koblongata

Posts: 535   +296
I get endless entertainment from YouTube. They have lots of long format videos on topics interested and I certainly see value in that. $12/m seems like a lot considering all the other streaming services. If you want me pay for something you have to make it cheap enough that adblock is nolonger a convient solution.

For me, that price is around $5/m. Instead of running YouTube directly from the TV I connect it to my PC and run ad block. $5/m is what using my TV natively with YouTube is worth

Yeah, maybe introduce separate premium solutions.. like, with ads but can view 4K..
 

MaestroIT

Posts: 107   +105
Google is excluding many countries with their choices for Youtube Premium: Premium is not available everywhere, many countries but not all, and yet many of its features are closed behind a paywall that many can't even get because they don't want to offer it to them.

Where I live I would love to have Picture-in-Picture, but they don't offer Premium here! this is the reason why I went Vanced...
 

Lew Zealand

Posts: 2,246   +2,798
TechSpot Elite
Lol, I usually watch at 720p on a laptop screen and I don't watch movies/shows from YT. 1080p on the rare times I put it on the TV.

Sucks for the people who are used to it, though.
 

Fearghast

Posts: 579   +496
I have 4K display for quite a while ... so I would really not be happy by this decision.
I would have no problem to subscribe to YouTube, but it would actually have to work in my country.
 

NeoMorpheus

Posts: 1,393   +2,960
I get endless entertainment from YouTube. They have lots of long format videos on topics interested and I certainly see value in that. $12/m seems like a lot considering all the other streaming services. If you want me pay for something you have to make it cheap enough that adblock is nolonger a convient solution.

For me, that price is around $5/m. Instead of running YouTube directly from the TV I connect it to my PC and run ad block. $5/m is what using my TV natively with YouTube is worth
I kind of agree that its expensive, but at the same time, it cost as much as a premium Spotify account and thats only for music.

YouTube premium includes no ads on videos and music with the screen of your device off.

Its a tricky one, at least for me.
 

TheBigT42

Posts: 684   +724
"There's no confirmation that owner Google will go down this route as it could only be a test to gauge reaction"
 

rrwards

Posts: 256   +483
I get endless entertainment from YouTube. They have lots of long format videos on topics interested and I certainly see value in that. $12/m seems like a lot considering all the other streaming services. If you want me pay for something you have to make it cheap enough that adblock is nolonger a convient solution.

For me, that price is around $5/m. Instead of running YouTube directly from the TV I connect it to my PC and run ad block. $5/m is what using my TV natively with YouTube is worth

If you have an android-based media player connected to your PC, consider using SmartTubeNext. It has adblock and sponsor block built in and maintains a UI that can be navigated easily with a regular remote.
 

m4a4

Posts: 3,092   +4,132
TechSpot Elite
Well, I guess this might work. Only the people who reeeaaaally care about 4k would pay a little bit more to stream it.

I could care less about 4k (I don't care to have the latest and greatest). I only went 1440k this year because I was getting new monitor (and that is more than enough pixel density for it).
I don't plan on setting up a home theater (or something along those lines) that would take advantage of it in the near future...
 

Neatfeatguy

Posts: 1,017   +1,855
No thanks. YouTube will continue to be a once in a great while visit for me when I have to see how to fix something.

I don't find any entertainment value from it and I can't understand why so many people do, but I don't question them about. My teenage daughter has shown me things that her and her friends watch on youtube and how they find these videos so funny......yeah, they're not funny. They're not even accidentally funny. What kids these days find as "funny" and entertaining to watch, these videos make my eyes and ears bleed.

mrb-singularity-f1.png
 

George Keech

Posts: 265   +458
Honestly this isn't the worst thing ever, I mean its a V first world problem not being happy with 1080p - also the bandwidth would be maybe 4 times higher?
 

BadThad

Posts: 1,220   +1,485
I've been careful for the past 20+ years not to intentionally give google a single dime. I plan on keeping that running for the next 20! I do follow many on YT and tolerate the onslaught of ads but I could care less about 4K for it, 1080P is plenty and it keeps money in my wallet.
 

Wasteman

Posts: 24   +28
I doubt content creators would go through the trouble of producing/uploading 4K content just so Google can make more money. As a content creator, I'd just begin limiting my videos to 1080P. This would save me a ton of electricity, processing time and uploading time. Why should I bother with 4K if most of my viewers are not likely to benefit from 4K?
 

m4a4

Posts: 3,092   +4,132
TechSpot Elite
I doubt content creators would go through the trouble of producing/uploading 4K content just so Google can make more money. As a content creator, I'd just begin limiting my videos to 1080P. This would save me a ton of electricity, processing time and uploading time. Why should I bother with 4K if most of my viewers are not likely to benefit from 4K?
Watching 4k would imply the user pays for premium, and premium pays some out to creators instead of showing ads (depending on content watched)...

At least, that's my understanding. It's supposed to pay out better than ads.