YouTube’s 1080p resolution has been the go-to choice for video viewing for a remarkable fourteen years. Introduced in 2009, it’s hard to believe how far we’ve come since the days of limited 480p and even dreaded 360p quality.
News about YouTube’s improved bitrate option surfaced in February when an observant Reddit user spotted it on certain videos. In April, the platform revealed plans to test this feature on iOS. Now, it’s officially launching for all users, bringing enhanced viewing quality to desktop as well. The evolution from the early days of video quality to this point is truly noteworthy.
Dubbed as ‘1080p Premium’, the fresh resolution brings forth enhanced video quality, diminished compression, and sharper visuals. These enhancements are particularly noticeable in videos abundant with movement and in low-light conditions.
Regrettably, similar to numerous remarkable offerings, 1080p Premium is accessible exclusively through a paywall (hinted by the term ‘Premium’). To access this feature, users need to subscribe to YouTube Premium, which comes at a progressively steep cost of $13.99 per month.
The recent 1080p enhancement is yet another enticing addition to YouTube’s strategy to encourage users to upgrade to YouTube Premium. Previously, the Google-owned platform attempted to make 4k (2160p) an exclusive premium offering, but community backlash prompted a swift reversal of the decision.
Currently, YouTube is exploring alternative methods to entice users towards Premium while maintaining a positive rapport with its free user base. This approach is prudent, considering that out of YouTube’s estimated 2.86 billion active users, only around 80 million are subscribed to the paid service.
Presently, the improved resolution is limited to specific videos, but this is likely to evolve as YouTube refines and tests the feature further. Additionally, the update is being extended to video game consoles and Chromecasts, broadening its accessibility.