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YouTube Premium Adds Improved Video Quality, SharePlay, And Other Upgrades

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YouTube has announced some updates to its YouTube Premium service in a bid to further help distinguish it from the standard YouTube experience. This is in addition to sending out a general reminder to everyone of the main benefits that come with a paid YouTube subscription.

Potentially the most interesting new addition is what YouTube refers to as an ‘enhanced bitrate’ version of 1080p HD video quality. All YouTube users get access to 1080p video when available, but this enhanced bitrate version is said to make videos “look extra crisp and clear.” Something that YouTube also says will particularly benefit fans of sports and games.

Enhanced bitrate is first going live on iOS (in the coming weeks) and YouTube says that Web users can also expert to be able to test out the feature soon.

Another notable upgrade for iOS users is the addition of SharePlay support. Previously, Android users could watch YouTube together through a Google Meet session hosted by a YouTube Premium member. In the future, those using an iOS device will also be able to join a session.

For those heavy YouTube users that like to binge a lot of content, YouTube Premium has now expanded support for queuing to phones and tablets. Now, YouTube Premium members can create a lineup of videos that will play next. In addition to queuing, YouTube Premium members can also now continue watching across different devices.

If, for example, starting a video on a phone and then wanting to continue on a tablet in another room, Premium members will find this option is now available to them. According to YouTube, continue watching support is currently limited to Android, iOS, and the Web.

For background, YouTube Premium now costs $11.99 per month for individuals and $22.99/month for families. This is following a recent price increase that affected all members, including legacy subscribers.

With that price increase having now largely rolled out to all users, it looks like YouTube is looking to sweeten the value on offer through upgrades to existing features and the availability of some new ones.

Although these latest upgrades probably won’t justify the subscription cost on their own, they are on top of an ad-free viewing experience, the ability to play videos in the background, and download videos for offline playback.

John Finn

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