YouTube continues to experiment with its subscription YouTube Premium. After having considered preventing free accounts from playing 4K content, an idea that was ultimately discarded, the video platform has begun testing a new feature.
As confirmed by a company spokesperson to The Verge, some paying users now have the ability to play content in “1080p Premium.” It is an improved option of the usual 1080p that seeks to offer “a higher quality viewing experience.”
The key is in the bit rate
From a technical point of view, this new possibility does not intervene in the resolution of the contents. In both cases we are talking about 1920 pixels horizontally and 1080 pixels vertically. The advantages in terms of quality come from a higher bit rate.
Choosing 1080p Premium, as explained by YouTube, means playing content with more information per pixel than 1080p. Precisely, the bit rate is a very important factor that influences the quality of the videos. If there is more information, we will have better quality.
It should be noted that the company has not provided details about the bit rate that is being used in the tests of 1080p Premium. However, we can give some examples to better understand what is being done and, in case of a general rollout, how it would affect us.
Bit rates are data streams that are generally measured in Mbps or megabits per second. YouTube’s standard 1080p bitrate ranges from 8 to 10 Mbps. However, according to some Reddit users, the new mode is delivering video at about 13 Mbps.
So, if we have a 1080p 8 Mbps video versus a 1080p 13 Mbps video, the second one, although with the same resolution, it should look much better thanks to the greater amount of information available. And, as you might imagine, more data also means bigger files.
On the other hand, we must not forget that many other factors come into play when playing videos online, such as the variable bit rate and the codecs used by YouTube to compress the video and stream it to different devices. We will have to wait to see if users are actually able to take advantage of this quality improvement.
Also, it should be noted that the standard 1080p playback option does not disappear. “No change to existing quality offers for 1080p (HD) resolution on YouTube”, they point out from the company that, as we said, tries to add features so that users are encouraged to pay for their subscription.
Currently, the video giant offers two payment alternatives. YouTube Premium Lite, which costs 6.99 euros per month and removes ads, and YouTube Premium, for 11.99 euros per month, which removes ads, allows content to be downloaded, plays in the background, and adds YouTube Music Premium .
Images: YouTube Blog (1 and 2) | u/KZedUK (Reddit)
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