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YouTube Premium gets a new high-quality video setting on iOS devices
YouTube has upped the bitrate of 1080p content for Premium subscribers
YouTube is rolling out a new high-quality video tier for members of its premium subscription service.
An enhanced bitrate version of the standard 1080p video quality will be launching in the coming weeks, according to a company blog post. To start, it will only be available on iOS devices before coming to YouTube in browsers “soon”.
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: YouTube Premium
💰 YouTube’s new high-quality setting is only available to Premium members
😎 It still offers 1080p resolution but at a higher bitrate
📺 Regular users can still watch videos in 1080p
🆕 A whole bunch of other new Premium features have also rolled out
“While all users will still have access to 1080p, this enhanced 1080p quality setting will look extra crisp and clear, especially for videos with lots of detail and motion,” the blog post explains.
“Whether you're an avid sports fan or locked in on the latest gaming videos, this new feature will bring an even deeper visual quality to our members.”
Bitrate can casually be thought of as the amount of data transferred by video in one second. Alongside resolution and frame rate, it’s one factor that determines the quality of playback. A higher bitrate should make for smoother overall viewing, although the color depth, brightness and resolution of the screen you’re using will also, of course, be important.
After Google began asking users to upgrade to YouTube Premium to watch videos in 4K last year, there was fear the company would lock higher-quality videos behind a paywall. For now, at least, that doesn’t seem to be YouTube’s direction, and while this enhanced 1080p quality is only for Premium members, regular users will still be able to enjoy everything they currently can.
YouTube also revealed a bunch of other features coming to its premium subscription service in the future. After announcing generative AI tools for content creators earlier in the year, Premium members will now be able to add content to their video queues on phones and tablets using the YouTube app, while regular users can only add videos to their queues when accessing YouTube through a web browser.
A Live Sharing feature for Google Meet has already come to Android devices, letting Premium members host Google Meet sessions in which all attendees (Premium members and free users) can watch YouTube videos together. Now the same feature will be coming to FaceTime for iOS users in the “coming weeks”.
A new feature will also let Premium members resume watching videos across devices from exactly where they left off. It’ll let you easily transition from watching something on your phone to your laptop or TV, without having to manually navigate to the exact spot where you left it. It also sounds handy for picking up a video, podcast or whatever else on your computer after getting halfway through on your phone while you were out and about.
Finally, a new Smart Download feature will automatically scoop up recommended videos that YouTube reckons you’ll want to watch when you’re offline. Videos will only be downloaded when you’re connected to Wi-Fi (sparing your phone data). The idea is to give you something to watch in those moments when you’re on the go and forgot to bring anything to entertain yourself (and presumably can’t bear the thought of reading or talking to people around you).
YouTube started integrating apps and content from other streaming platforms last year, as it looked to pitch itself as an all-in-one center for video content. It’s by no means achieved that lofty goal, but suggests big changes are on the horizon.
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