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YouTube’s testing a new and improved 1080p streaming quality


Not all 1080p streaming qualities are created equal, YouTube proves.

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If you’ve ever looked at YouTube’s 1080p streaming and wished that it looked just a little bit better, you might be about to get what you hoped for. The streamer is testing a new, upgraded version. But there’s a catch.


YouTube already offers multiple different streaming video qualities that go all the way up to 4K, but a number of users have started to spot an upgraded version of the existing 1080p option.

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Dubbed 1080p Premium, the new and improved offering is designed to improve on the existing one without adding any extra pixels. Instead, it looks like YouTube is offering the same 1080p stream but at a higher bitrate for an improved image.

“1080p Premium is an enhanced bitrate version of 1080p which provides more information per pixel that results in a higher quality viewing experience,” a YouTube spokesperson reportedly told The Verge.

Don’t worry though. While some had been concerned that YouTube was reducing the quality of the free 1080p stream to make the premium version look more compelling, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

As for just how much improved the 1080p Premium stream actually is, that’s hard to know without seeing it ourselves. However, one Redditor says that they were able to confirm that the stream runs at around 14Mbps. That’s a notable increase over the roughly 8Mbps that you would expect to see normally.

In this case, it’s even possible that a higher bitrate version of 1080p could make for a better image than the 4K stream, depending on the content being shown at the time.

The 1080p Premium offering does look to be another value-add for YouTube Premium subscribers, but it’s only available to a limited number of users right now. There’s been no word on when it will be rolling out to all YouTube Premium subscribers, however.



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