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YouTube ends its 4K video for only premium subscribers experiment

YouTube has canceled its experiment to lock 4K videos behind a paywall.

Published onOctober 17, 2022

YouTube on smartphone stock photo 4
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  • YouTube was experimenting with locking 4K resolution behind its paywall.
  • Those in the experiment saw the word “premium” next to the 2160p option.
  • The company has confirmed it has ended the test and non-premium viewers should have access to 4K again.

YouTube had been testing out the idea of making 4K resolution an exclusive feature for YouTube Premium subscribers. Now, the company has ended the experiment.

Earlier this month, we reported that some YouTube users on Reddit were discovering that the word “premium” was appearing next to the 4K option on YouTube videos. It turned out that these people were a part of a small experiment group where YouTube was testing out the idea of locking resolutions of 4K and above behind its premium service.

This act would serve to add a new exclusive feature to YouTube Premium, which could entice more users to subscribe to its service. YouTube’s aggressive Premium subscriber push is something that we’ve mentioned before. At the same time, however, it would take away a feature from free users who have had access to the option since it was first implemented back in 2010.

But, thankfully, it looks like YouTube has reversed course on its idea. According to a tweet from the official TeamYouTube account on Twitter, the company has ended its experiment.

we’ve fully turned off this experiment. viewers should now be able to access 4K quality resolutions without Premium membership. we’re here if you have other q’s
— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) October 17, 2022

No reason appears to be given why YouTube stopped the test, but the company confirms that all users — whether Premium subscribers or not — should have access to the 4K option again.

In an additional tweet, the account responded to a Japanese user asking about 4K also mentioning the test coming to an end and stating, “if you have any opinions on this trial, we would appreciate it if you could send us your feedback in the following way.”

With the test now over, hopefully, the people over at YouTube will think of something better to offer Premium subscribers instead of taking something away that’s already been established as free.