YouTube Premium is enhancing the streaming experience with several upgrades and new features. At the forefront of these updates is the rollout of the “enhanced” 1080p playback feature. Initially an iOS-exclusive, this quality setting is now accessible across various platforms including Android, the web, and smart TVs. Promising more information per pixel, this upgrade began its web user rollout this summer and is now available to all Premium subscribers.
Seamless Viewing Across Devices
YouTube’s commitment to a seamless viewing experience is further demonstrated with the expansion of the “continue watching” feature. Initially available on phones and the web, this functionality has now been extended to tablets and smart TVs. It enables users to resume videos where they left off, across all their devices, enhancing the continuity of the viewing experience.
Innovations with AI
Entering the realm of AI, YouTube is integrating AI-generated content into the Premium experience. This includes testing AI-generated summaries of comment sections and a chatbot designed to answer queries related to the viewed content. Although initially introduced discreetly, YouTube is now inviting users to participate in testing these AI features, albeit with limited spots available.
Exclusive Subscriber Benefits
YouTube Premium is not just about enhanced video quality and AI innovation. Subscribers can now enjoy a range of perks including three-month trials to Discord Nitro, Walmart+, and Game Pass for PCs, along with a four-month subscription to the Calm app and an “in-game loot bundle” for Genshin Impact. Additionally, the platform is introducing new achievement badges, catering to user engagement.
Global Reach and Subscriber Incentives
Despite the recent crackdown on ad blockers, YouTube noted an impressive 80 million users of Premium globally, including those on free trials. While the new features may not necessarily drive new subscriptions, they certainly add value for existing users, especially those new to Premium.
Pricing and Overall Experience
The cost of these features comes at a price, however. Following a mid-2023 price hike, YouTube Premium now costs $14 for individual accounts and $23 for family plans. This subscription not only offers enhanced video quality but also a suite of benefits including ad-free viewing, offline video downloads, background play, and access to YouTube Music Premium. This holistic approach to premium content is indicative of YouTube’s strategy to offer a comprehensive, high-quality streaming experience.
While each feature individually may not justify the subscription cost, collectively, they present a compelling package. YouTube Premium is evolving, not only in terms of video quality but as a full-fledged service offering a blend of traditional streaming perks and innovative AI-driven features.