YouTube Premium could lock 4K videos behind a paywall
Watching 4K videos on YouTube might not be free for much longer
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: YouTube Premium
👀 Google has begun asking some users to upgrade to YouTube Premium to watch 4K videos
💰 Watching 4K content on YouTube is currently free but could be locked behind a paywall soon
❤️ Premium costs $12 a month and includes several features such as ad-free playback, background play, and YouTube Music
📈 YouTube Premium currently has around 50 million subscribers
YouTube Premium might be the only way to watch videos in 4K resolution soon, as some free users have been prompted to upgrade to Google’s paid service.
The option was spotted by several Reddit and Twitter users (thanks, MacRumors), which suggests Google is experimenting with the possibility of locking 4K videos behind a paywall.
Watching YouTube videos in 4K is currently free, but it looks like Google thinks it can entice more users to YouTube Premium, which costs $11.99 a month, by restricting free users to 1440p.
While YouTube Premium certainly has its perks, such as ad-free content, background play, the ability to download videos offline, and YouTube Music, it’s always frustrating when a company removes features that were previously free. Instead, Google should focus on providing more reasons to subscribe to Premium, like being able to zoom in on videos.
I recently canceled Spotify for YouTube Premium, and it’s something I wish I’d done sooner. For someone who watches many videos, uses YouTube for music, and was frankly sick of being bombarded with ads, it offers more value than Spotify did, at least for my personal needs.
YouTube Premium reached 50 million subscribers in 2021, but it lags far behind the likes of Spotify, which has 182 million subscribers, and Netflix, which has 220 million subscribers. However, YouTube was the top social media app with US teens in 2022.
It remains to be seen whether the decision to restrict 4K content will entice more people to choose Google’s paid service or simply put them off for good.
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