Get ready to pay to see 4K video on YouTube

Posted:
in General Discussion
YouTube viewers may have to pay if they want high-resolution streams in future, as the video service is testing limiting 4K video resolution to Premium subscribers.




A number of users discovered in September that the option to play a YouTube video at 2,160p was restricted, accompanied by text claiming it was a "Premium" feature and to "Tap to upgrade" to it. The change allowed viewing of video at 1,440p and lower, but 4K was off limits for some people.

On Sunday, YouTube's Twitter account confirmed that affected users are "part of our experiment to know better the feature preferences Premium & non-Premium viewers." YouTube didn't formally announce the changes before they were introduced, but did request for feedback about it.

hi! it looks like your part of our experiment to know better the feature preferences Premium & non-Premium viewers. if you have more thoughts in mind, you can share it here so we can make improvements: https://t.co/P97P6LUQmf

-- TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube)


It is unknown how many people are affected by the change, nor if it will be rolled out to all non-paying users, but it could be a major alteration to the service in multiple ways.

The most obvious one is that more people could sign up for the $11.99 YouTube Premium subscription to get 4K playback. YouTube Premium provides ad-free viewing, as well as YouTube Music Premium, downloadable videos, and the ability to play videos in the background on the iPhone and iPad.

Aside from bringing in money to YouTube, the change could also save the service money. High bandwidth requirements of 4K video could mean a reduction in cost if free users are limited to lower resolutions.

The burden of video streaming isn't only being felt by YouTube. Netflix, which already limits 4K to more costly plans, has worked to increase revenues by cracking down on password sharing and introducing an ad-supported tier.

YouTube has previously tested a cheaper ad-free "Premium Lite" tier of service, providing video streams but without the extra Premium level benefits.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,057member
    I watch youtube but I have no desire to use youtube music or play videos in the background. Youtube used to have an ad-free version for $5 and I would be willing to pay for that but $12 is a waste because I'm already paying for Apple Music. If youtube offered a family plan for just ad-free and 4K at $12, I'd be willing to buy that. I'd need the typical 4-5 viewers at the same time. Right now ads on Apple TV is messing up, causing momentary black screen (1-2 sec) during the second ad and when the video starts. No ads and it works fine. 

    An alternative would be for Apple to create a similar service, ad-free, pay-for-use service for a reasonable amount or money that would go to paying the video originators. This could be an extension of AppleTV+.
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 15
    doaldoal Posts: 24member
    rob53 said:
    I watch youtube but I have no desire to use youtube music or play videos in the background. Youtube used to have an ad-free version for $5 and I would be willing to pay for that but $12 is a waste because I'm already paying for Apple Music. If youtube offered a family plan for just ad-free and 4K at $12, I'd be willing to buy that. I'd need the typical 4-5 viewers at the same time. Right now ads on Apple TV is messing up, causing momentary black screen (1-2 sec) during the second ad and when the video starts. No ads and it works fine. 

    An alternative would be for Apple to create a similar service, ad-free, pay-for-use service for a reasonable amount or money that would go to paying the video originators. This could be an extension of AppleTV+.
    Yeah same here. I would pay $5, but I’m not gonna pay $12. 
    tokyojimuwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 15
    retrogustoretrogusto Posts: 1,004member
    rob53 said:
    Right now ads on Apple TV is messing up, causing momentary black screen (1-2 sec) during the second ad and when the video starts. No ads and it works fine. 
    I was having this problem ever since the TvOS 16 update, but someone on a forum told me to turn off the “match frame rate” setting under Settings -> Video / Audio, and that fixed it. I hope this works for you too. 
    freeassociate2FileMakerFellermuthuk_vanalingamdoozydozenbestkeptsecretwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 15
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,797member
    When this goes into effect for everyone I guess I’ll stop uploading 4K videos.  I am not a “creator” getting paid so no need for me to worry about 4K.  
    FileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 15
    JinTechJinTech Posts: 947member
    There really shouldn't be an uproar about this. 4K videos do have a beefier demand on storage and operations.
    edited October 4 williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 15
    I also wonder how much this is a licensing issue. I haven’t checked, but I’m guessing these aren’t being streamed in AV1. Nor in h.265, which would have increased efficiency and lowered costs, because Google and others have refused to license or implement it in their products.

    PS - I work in streaming media. Rarely does the business rational match the technological capability or cost. It’s typically something else — usually screwing over a competitor. 
    edited October 4 FileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 15
    rob53 said:
    Right now ads on Apple TV is messing up, causing momentary black screen (1-2 sec) during the second ad and when the video starts. No ads and it works fine. 
    I was having this problem ever since the TvOS 16 update, but someone on a forum told me to turn off the “match frame rate” setting under Settings -> Video / Audio, and that fixed it. I hope this works for you too. 
    That’s interesting… hadn’t seen that option. I get a similar issue whenever my Yamaha head unit has switching to do between TV in app media as well as switching to the app interface. I’ll try that and see if it improves anything.
    doozydozenwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 15
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,574member
    Money-grubbing Google already shows ads to offset the cost of hosting these videos. I see no reason why they can’t continue to do that for people who don’t wish to pay for a monthly subscription.

    The “garbage to good” ratio on YouTube is waaaaaaaaaaay too high on the “garbage” side for me to ever consider a subscription; even the lowest tier ($5/month) is equal to what I pay for a couple of different streaming services (Apple TV+ and Acorn TV, as two examples) that offer ZERO ads and much higher-quality content with a much higher ratio of content I enjoy.

    The worst part is that Google is extorting both viewers and creators here: they will undoubtedly offer some creators the opportunity to make 4K available to non-subscribers … for a fee. Luckily for me, among the best things you can find on YouTube are podcasts … which never needed to be 4K in the first place. I’ll miss some of the Naturescape type stuff, but paying $144 a year (plus tax) for 4K is DOA for me.
    williamlondonFileMakerFellerStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 15
    retrogustoretrogusto Posts: 1,004member
    It’s hard to imagine that there would be much of a market for paid 4K on YouTube, given the amount of content shot with low production value, and/or not of a deeply aesthetic nature, plus the limited number of viewers who have the necessary hardware and/or who care about the nominal difference.
    FileMakerFellerchasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 15
    On Sunday, YouTube's Twitter account confirmed that affected users are "part of our experiment to know better the feature preferences Premium & non-Premium viewers." YouTube didn't formally announce the changes before they were introduced, but did request for feedback about it. 
    Wow. Sophistry at its finest. They're not suddenly charging extra for an existing feature without advance notice, they're conducting an experiment on user preferences. What a crock.

    The one positive thing I have to say is that at least they're not surveying a sample population with leading questions like "how much would you pay for feature x" but instead watching the actual behaviour of their users.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 15
    I don't watch anything on YouTube that I'm dying to see in glorious 4K.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 15
    rob53 said:
    Right now ads on Apple TV is messing up, causing momentary black screen (1-2 sec) during the second ad and when the video starts. No ads and it works fine. 
    I was having this problem ever since the TvOS 16 update, but someone on a forum told me to turn off the “match frame rate” setting under Settings -> Video / Audio, and that fixed it. I hope this works for you too. 
    For me, the problem started long before TvOS 16. The constant black screens and skipped contents on ads-served videos are really annoying. I deleted YouTube on Apple TV a week ago because of this issue. I am happier now just watching episodes on Infuse Pro esp. now that seasons are back on screen. I only watch YT on my laptop today to watch live football. I think I'll stay off YT on Apple TV for a few weeks until there is a significant upgrade available. I don't mind not watching 4K YT.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 15
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,574member
    Spitbath said:
    I don't watch anything on YouTube that I'm dying to see in glorious 4K.
    Our tastes may be different, but I will say that I have found the drone-flyover videos (and some walking tours) of beautiful cities to be far more enjoyable in 4K than 1080p. YMMV, and I am not about to pay for that privilege when there are ads on those videos as it is now, but let’s not throw the babies out with the bathwater.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 15
    I watch a lot of stuff on Youtube. I find the ad interruptions very irritating, but I do not begrudge Google for trying to monetize a service. I won't pay for it, but expecting ad-free 4k videos for free on my part just seems like a misplaced sense of entitlement.
    muthuk_vanalingamgatorguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 15
    chasm said:
    Spitbath said:
    I don't watch anything on YouTube that I'm dying to see in glorious 4K.
    Our tastes may be different, but I will say that I have found the drone-flyover videos (and some walking tours) of beautiful cities to be far more enjoyable in 4K than 1080p. YMMV, and I am not about to pay for that privilege when there are ads on those videos as it is now, but let’s not throw the babies out with the bathwater.
    Sorry, let me rephrase my original post...

    "I don't watch anything on YouTube that I'm dying to pay money to watch in glorious 4K."

    Yes, 4K drone videos are very cool! I can also find those on Vimeo, which is actually a more appropriate venue to showcase that kind of content.
    watto_cobra
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