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  • Kyle Chua

YouTube Considering Locking 4K Streaming Behind Paid Subscription

YouTube has reportedly been running a test on some users that locks the option to stream videos in 4K resolution behind a YouTube Premium subscription.

Credit: YouTube

Users took to Reddit and Twitter to comment and share screenshots of the change, which TechCrunch first spotted. The 4K resolution option – or 2160p resolution, as it’s referred to on the platform – is currently available for free. However, if YouTube does decide to make the option exclusive to Premium, then you would have to pay a subscription fee of S$11.98 per month via the Google Play Store or S$15.98 per month via the iOS App Store to access it again.


YouTube Premium gives you access to an ad-free viewing experience, the ability to play videos offline and a library of exclusive content from famous creators on the video-sharing platform, among other features. The subscription also comes bundled with YouTube Music, the company’s music streaming service.

Credit: CaseyNeistat YouTube channel

YouTube hasn’t publicly commented on the change yet, but its Twitter support account, TeamYouTube, in a since-deleted tweet did reply to one user’s query about it. TeamYouTube told the user he was part of an experiment that looks to know better the “feature preferences” of Premium and non-Premium users. It also asked users to give their feedback about the experiment, so it could “make improvements”.

Going by the tweets of some users, the response to the change has been quite mixed. There are some who said they don’t mind the change since they’re already paying for YouTube Premium, which they think is worth their money. Then, there are those who think it’s not right to charge for an option that was once free. Some also said YouTube Premium is too expensive.


It’s worth pointing out though that not all of YouTube’s experiments result in changes to the platform. That means the 4K option is likely to remain free for all users, until the company announces otherwise.


The move is likely part of YouTube’s effort to boost its subscription revenues. The company in September of this year announced that YouTube Premium had reached over 50 million subscribers. But that figure is only a small percentage of the platform’s worldwide user base of 2 billion.

 
  • YouTube has reportedly been running a test on some users that locks the option to stream videos in 4K resolution behind a YouTube Premium subscription.

  • With the exception of those selected for the test, the 4K option is currently available for free.

  • if YouTube does decide to make the option exclusive to Premium, then you would have to pay a subscription fee to access it again.

  • It’s worth pointing out though that not all of YouTube’s experiments result in changes to the platform.

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