YouTube rolls out high bitrate 1080p to all Premium subscribers

There are also a handful of new AI-powered features you can test out.


YouTube Premium may have gotten more expensive in the last year (like basically every other streaming service), but the company at least has adding features pretty frequently as well. YouTube Music in particular has gotten a lot of upgrades in 2023, but today YouTube is announcing a number of experimental features and offers for subscribers to check out.

Probably the most significant is that YouTube's "enhanced" 1080p playback feature is coming to everyone, regardless of what device you're using. It started out as an iOS-only feature, but is now available on Android, the web and smart TVs too. This quality setting provides an improved bitrate that YouTube says has more information per pixel. The enhanced 1080p setting started rolling out to some users on the web this summer, but it should be available to all Premium subscribers regardless of what device you're using.

In the same vein, a "continue watching" feature that YouTube launched for phones and on the web is rolling out to tablets and smart TVs as well. Basically, if you're watching a video on one device, all your other ones will remember what you're watching and where you left off so you can seamlessly continue the video.

You'll also be unsurprised to learn that YouTube is starting to bring AI-generated content into the Premium experience. Earlier this month the company announced it was testing out AI-generated summaries of comment sections as well as a chatbot that can attempt to answer questions about what you're watching. The company didn't do a full announce then, just dropping some info on a YouTube support page, but with today's news you can sign up for a spot to try the chatbot out. YouTube says that only a limited number of people will get into the test, so don't hesitate if you want to give it a shot. You can find the details about YouTube's experimental features here.

YouTube also has a handful of decent perks available for Premium subscribers at the moment. Among them are three-month trials to Discord Nitro, Walmart+, and Game Pass for PCs (the last one is "coming soon"). There's also a four-month subscription to the Calm meditation and sleep app and an "in-game loot bundle" for Genshin Impact. Finally, there are some cute new achievement badges highlighting how much you've watched or listened, among other things.

As part of the announcement, YouTube also noted that it now has 80 million paid and free trial users of Premium around the world. None of these new features are exactly the kinds of things that'll drive more people to try the service, but existing subscribers should try and get as much as they can out of it — particularly people who are new to Premium in the face of YouTube's recent crackdown on ad blockers.