Youtube is testing higher bitrates for its premium users. 1080p is heavily compressed on the video platform to save bandwidth. However, YouTube is now apparently offering paying customers higher bit rates at 1080p as a test. The test is currently being carried out with a small group of users who have taken out a premium subscription.
“1080p Premium is an uprated version of 1080p that delivers more information per pixel, resulting in a higher quality viewing experience,” Paul Pennington, a spokesperson for YouTube, told The Verge. “Enhanced Bitrate” is only in the selection bar for the quality of the videos. Whether it’s just the bit rate or the color depth is also improved remains unclear at the moment.
Based on the situation so far, content creators are advised to upload videos in higher resolutions such as 1440p or 2160p to boost the bitrate a bit. The videos are compressed less. Especially 1440p, which is closer to 1080p than 2160p in terms of amount of pixels, benefits quite well. 1080p should deliver at least 7 to 10 Mbit/s constantly in order not to lose too much image content, but is often compressed down to 3 Mbit/s. This is often a bit small, even with modern algorithms with variable bitrates.
Of course there are also concerns. First, that Youtube lowers the free resolutions in quality to lure more users into a premium subscription. On the other hand, that the test will be extended to other resolutions – especially 4K/UHD. The clips are sometimes offered with quite high bit rates and there would be great savings potential for YouTube here, because traffic is still expensive. Last October, 2160p60 was hidden behind Premium for test groups. Tests are carried out by Youtube from time to time, but so far without results. That could change with the departure of long-term CEO Susan Wojcicki.
Youtube Premium costs 11.99 euros per month or 119.99 per year and is primarily ad-free. Students get the offer for 6.99 euros; the family tariff costs 17.99 euros. The tariffs should be booked directly on YouTube, otherwise additional fees – such as those of the selling stores – may apply.
What: The Verge, Reddit, Twitter
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