4K videos could become exclusive to YouTube Premium

YouTube could soon force consumers to pay to watch videos in 4K.

The company is reportedly testing a new feature -or limitation – requiring users to subscribe to the Premium service to access 4K content on the platform. Earlier in the month, several YouTube users spotted that watching videos in 2,160p was restricted without Premium access, with an option to “tap to upgrade”.

This weekend, YouTube confirmed that it was experimenting with the possibility of limiting 4K content. In a tweet, the company said it was “part of our experiment to know better the feature preferences of Premium & non-Premium viewers.”

The company didn’t confirm that the changes would be permanent but did ask users to offer their feedback.

Should the change be rolled out across the board, users would need to pay $11.99 per month for YouTube Premium to access 4K content. Other benefits of premium include ad-free access to content, as well as the ability to download videos to watch later, play videos in the background on iOS devices, and access to YouTube Music Premium.

It’s likely that the feature will be introduced not only to increase Premium subscriptions but save YouTube money on streaming bandwidth. Netflix, for example, only allows consumers on select plans to stream its content in 4K.

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