YouTube has begun asking users to subscribe to Premium to watch 4K videos

You may soon need YouTube Premium for more than turning off ads, playing in the background, and trying out new features. As MacRumors Notes, users on Reddit and Twitter have noticed that YouTube is asking some viewers to upgrade to Premium in order to watch videos in 4K resolution. It’s not clear which countries, devices or videos will be affected, but that won’t be exciting if you were hoping for 1440p+ on your computer or tablet.

Not sure if this is a test or a wider rollout. We’ve reached out to YouTube for comment and will let you know when we receive a response. Premium typically costs $12 per month or $120 per year.

Such a move would not be unexpected. YouTube claimed a total of 50 million premium and music subscribers last September. That might sound like a lot of customers, but it’s a modest sum compared to paid media services like Spotify Premium (188 million users in Q2) and Netflix (220.7 million). In theory, blocking 4K videos behind YouTube Premium could encourage signups and make it a bigger revenue stream for Google.

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