It looks like YouTube’s 1080p Premium video quality is finally rolling out to Android devices for paying subscribers, after a brief period of iOS exclusivity.
If you're an active YouTube Premium member – it costs $ 11.99 / £11.99 / AU$ 14.99 per month – and use an iOS device like an iPhone 14, you can currently watch videos in ‘1080p Premium’ quality. These are like regular HD videos, but are streamed using a higher bitrate, which means the video is less compressed, and so should look crisper and more detailed.
It looks like this upgrade won’t be exclusive to the best iPhones for much longer, as Android phone and Google TV users who pay for YouTube Premium are reporting that they can see the 1080p Premium video option (via 9to5Google). Right now the feature doesn’t appear to be widespread, and reportedly the users don’t see the option all the time, but this seemingly inadvertent rollout suggests that 1080p Premium will soon be available for more YouTube users.
Google has yet to say when 1080p Premium will officially roll out for Android, but be on the lookout for an update to the app in the coming days and weeks. If you want to take advantage of the upgrade, remember that you’ll also have to sign up for YouTube Premium.
As for those of you who want to keep using YouTube for free, you’ll still have access to the same 1080p HD-quality videos you had before – just without the added benefits of the higher bitrate.
Should you subscribe to YouTube Premium?
If you use YouTube a lot then you've probably thought about signing up for Premium, especially as the company has steadily introduced more reasons for you to subscribe.
Higher-bitrate videos, the ability to download videos for offline viewing, and Google Meet group watch-alongs are a few of the upgrades to the YouTube service that await Premium members. You’ll also be able to watch YouTube ad-free (ignoring any ads that the creator bakes into the video).
The ad-free feature is getting better too – although for the wrong reasons. Earlier this year YouTube announced that unskippable ads will be getting longer (they can now be up to 30s) on your Google TV, and it’s playing around with “pause experiences” – adverts that appear around the video whenever you pause it. As ads become more annoying, the ability to switch them off becomes more appealing.
That said, YouTube Premium is pretty darn pricey; $ 11.99 / £11.99 / AU$ 14.99 is more than you’d pay for a number of the best streaming services, so it’ll only be worth it if you use YouTube a lot.