YouTube begins rolling out 1080p Premium enhanced bitrate option for more users

YouTube’s “enhanced bitrate” 1080p Premium quality option is now rolling out to desktop web users, but as expected, it’s locked behind a subscription.

Key Takeaways

  • YouTube is rolling out its “1080p Premium” video quality option with a higher bitrate for web users on desktop, game consoles, and Chromecasts, in addition to mobile users.
  • This new video quality option offers crisper visuals and less compression, particularly noticeable in videos with lots of motion.
  • The 1080p Premium option is only available to YouTube Premium subscribers and comes as an added incentive to upgrade by offering a higher bitrate without changing current subscription options.



Back in February, we learned that YouTube is experimenting with a new “1080p Premium” video quality option with a higher bitrate for mobile users. The company formally announced it in April when it began testing the capability on iOS, promising that more platforms would follow suit soon. It seems that it is now ready to roll out the feature more generally, with web on desktop users finally gaining this configuration too.

For those unaware, 1080p Premium is a setting currently available on select videos, offering the same 1080p resolution, but with a higher bitrate. In practice, this should result in a higher video quality with crisp visuals and less compression, more apparent in content that has lots of motion. However, as the name suggests, it is locked behind the YouTube Premium subscription, which costs $13.99/month and $22.99/month for Individual and Family packages in the United States, respectively.

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The Verge now reports that following experimentation on iOS for a few months, a company spokesperson has confirmed that the 1080p Premium enhanced bitrate offering is rolling out globally for all web users on desktop. Additionally, it is being made available to living room-focused hardware like game consoles and Chromecasts too. It is important to note that the setting is not available on all videos, but you can test it on some content like the Meta Quest 3 reveal here. Interestingly, there is still no word on Android availability yet, but it should follow soon as well.

The 1080p Premium likely serves as a sweet spot for some to consider upgrading to YouTube Premium. Previously, YouTube experimented with locking 4K (2160p) content behind the YouTube Premium paywall but was forced to end this test quickly following major backlash. The latest stab at getting more people to purchase YouTube Premium ensures that all current options are kept as-is for everyone, but higher bitrate is thrown into the mix to sweeten the pot for Premium subscribers.

Categories: Reviews