YouTube videos have come leaps and bounds in terms of video quality over the past few years. Back in February, we first learned about the Google-owned service’s plans for an enhanced bitrate option, exclusively available for YouTube Premium subscribers. YouTube then officially announced the feature’s rollout for iOS in April, promising that it would make it to the web eventually. Fast forward to June, when YouTube began testing the feature more widely, including on some Android phones and Android TV setups. YouTube has now announced the higher bitrate option’s arrival on the web, almost four months after making it to iPhones.
This means that Premium subscribers worldwide should find the new 1080p enhanced bitrate option when adjusting the video quality, as shown below. Interestingly, this option would continue to appear to non-Premium users as well, but tapping the option would prompt users to subscribe to Premium, as The Verge reports. We found that this enhanced bitrate option isn’t available on all videos right now, though we expect that to change gradually.
The publication also managed to gain confirmation on the global rollout of this new 1080p enhanced bitrate option from YouTube spokesperson Paul Pennington. In addition to web users, this enhanced option would also appear on devices like the Google Chromecast and some video game consoles, Pennington added, while also giving out the bad news that this option isn’t available on Android yet.
But we know it’s being tested among Android users, with a handful of them spotting the option within the YouTube app a couple of months ago. But as it stands, the wait for the enhanced bitrate option on Android continues. It’s worth noting that despite the inclusion of this new “enhanced” option for Premium subscribers, free users can continue to enjoy the standard 1080p video streaming quality unrestricted.
The enhanced or higher bitrate on YouTube videos effectively means their compression is markedly better, resulting in reduced pixelation — especially in dimly lit scenes — and a considerable improvement in video quality.