YouTube TV 4K Plus is probably worth paying extra for if you are specifically interested in live sports. For everyone else, however, it is far less likely to be worth the additional monthly cost. At least, not yet. Here’s an overview of what you can expect with 4K Plus before adding it to your live TV package.
YouTube TV’s base plan is far from cheap, but even at $64.99 per month, it does offer plenty of value. Subscribers get access to more than 85 live TV channels, an unlimited DVR, and a number of upgrade options that can further help to improve the channel lineup and experience.
One of the add-ons that specifically looks to improve the experience is 4K Plus. Even though YouTube TV officially charges an additional $19.99 per month for the 4K Plus add-on, the live TV service has pretty much been running a non-stop promotion since launch. Originally, subscribers were offered the add-on at $9.99 per month for the first 12 months. When we signed up, however, the price has risen to $11.99 per month for the first 12 months. The add-on also came with a 30-day free trial, making it is possible to test out before paying.
Adding and using 4K Plus
Signing up to the add-on is super simple and not any different to signing up to YouTube TV to begin with. Subscribers can head over to the YouTube TV website, sign in, click on the profile icon in the top right corner and then on Settings. They can then click Add next to 4K Plus before confirming the change to the plan.
Technically, it is also possible to sign up through the app on a smart TV by navigating to and clicking on the dollar icon in the top row. This opens a section of the app where subscribers can view any and all of the currently available add-ons, including 4K Plus.
While it is possible to begin the process of adding 4K Plus on a smart TV, YouTube TV still requires the final confirmation to be made by logging into the account via a browser. In the sense, it is just easier and quicker to add 4K Plus through the website to begin with. Regardless of how the add-on is enabled, access to 4K Plus becomes immediate available. YouTube TV subscribers can then click on the general “4K” filter to see currently available and upcoming events they can watch in 4K.
YouTube TV also offers the option to filter the results further through various tags including Sports, Shows, Soccer, Baseball, Nature, Food, and Documentary.
It is also possible to see what’s on live in 4K through the live TV guide. Essentially, any channel or program that’s available will be accompanied by a blue “4K” badge making it easy enough to identify what is and isn’t available to watch at a specific time.
For reference, 4K is available on all supported devices that are able to display video at the higher resolution. In other words, subscribers can watch in 4K when away from home on their smartphone or tablet, or on their smart TV or streaming player when at home.
Overall, most of the available 4K content is centered around live sports, and with plenty of events in 4K each week, it is a good option for sports fans. However, outside of sports, the section of available 4K content is a lot more limited. While there were a number of shows available to watch in the higher resolution, movies were non-existent. There’s not even a “movies” tag to filter the results.
Additional 4K Plus benefits
While watching in 4K is certainly the main reason to sign up for the 4K Plus add-on, it is not the only benefit. Subscribers also get the ability to stream on even more devices at the same time, as well as the option to download videos to watch offline at a later time.
Obviously, if in need of watching on multiple devices at the same time then the increased number of simultaneous streams is going to be beneficial. For me, this wasn’t an added benefit. Not to mention, these additional streams are only available when at home, as subscribers are still limited to the same number of away-from-home streams.
In terms of the downloads, this is likely to be more beneficial to more households. However, the ability to download videos is only available on mobile devices, with the feature designed for on the go use. The feature largely works the same as it does for YouTube Premium subscribers, with a small download icon added next to videos that can be downloaded.
Simply clicking on the icon will immediately start downloading the video. Once a recording has been downloaded, subscribers will find it located in the Downloads section of the Library.
It is worth noting that downloads are only available for videos that have already been recorded, limiting its functionality. For example, it is not possible to download any on-demand episodes or movies. Pointlessly, the download icon does still appear next to on-demand versions, but it is grayed out and clicking the icon won’t actually download the video.
Is 4K Plus worth it?
The short answer, it depends.
For those really into watching sports then the upgrade might be worth paying for. Having access to a wide variety of sports events in 4K does significantly improve the viewing experience and there were no major issues noted with the streaming quality – though your ISP miles may vary. This coupled with the additional streams, and the option to download recordings, does make for a good overall upgrade to the base plan. Whether or not it is worth the full $20 asking price is another matter entirely, and that will depend on a home’s budget. Personally, and as a sports fan, I currently wouldn’t pay $20 more for what’s on offer.
For those less interested in sports, 4K Plus is probably not worth paying extra for. Unless really in need of the additional streams or downloads, there is just enough content available in 4K to make it worthwhile. This will vary by household as some homes may find they are fine with the selection of 4K videos. In general, though, it is hard to recommend paying another $20 each month unless really wanting to watch this weekend’s games in 4K.