Recently some users on Twitter and Reddit have reported that YouTube has asked them to upgrade to its premium services to watch high-resolution 4K videos. As of this writing, there has been no official announcement or acknowledgment yet from the streaming service.
One Twitter user shared that some users are being asked to sign up for YouTube's Premium service after attempting to watch some videos in 4K. We weren't able to replicate this ourselves and for now, we can't be sure if this is a small trial to test the waters or the start of a full rollout. YouTube Premium is $11.99 a month, which currently removes ads from the service, gives you access to YouTube Music, and allows you to download videos to watch later.
So, after testing up to 12 ads on YouTube for non-Premium users, now some users reported that they also have to get a Premium account just to watch videos in 4K. pic.twitter.com/jJodoAxeDpOctober 1, 2022
Unless you regularly consume YouTube on a 4K laptop, monitor, or TV, this isn't likely the biggest selling point as everything up to 1440p would remain on the free tier. The idea of paying over $140 for a year of YouTube's Premium service may be cost-prohibitive for many, as we're facing increasing costs for everything we buy thanks to inflation. Our own Sean Riley is a YouTube Premium subscriber and he responded that this would be far down his list of incentives, with the removal of ads way up at the top of that list (seriously, up to 12 pre-roll ads?), YouTube Music as a nice bonus, and easily managed downloads and background play rounding out the top four.
However, many of us cord-cutters are paying nearly what we used to for cable television already to watch our favorite content on services like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney Plus, so adding another $11.99 may not be very appealing.