YouTube TV 4K Plus is probably worth paying extra for if you are specifically interested in live sports. For everyone else, it might not be worth the additional monthly cost. Not yet, at least. Here’s an overview of what you can expect with the 4K Plus upgrade before adding it to your live TV package.
YouTube TV’s base plan is far from cheap, but even at $72.99 per month, it does offer plenty of value. Subscribers get access to more than 100 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. While the 4K Plus upgrade was previously priced at $19.99 per month, YouTube TV announced a permanent price drop in March 2023. Today, the add-on costs $9.99 per month on top of the base plan.
If signing up to the add-on for the first time, some YouTube TV members may find they are offered the option to upgrade to 4K Plus at $4.99 per month for the first 12 months. Either way, YouTube TV does offer a 30-day free trial, making it is possible to test the 4K Plus add-on before having to make the first payment.
Editor note: the original version of this review was written when the price was still $19.99 per month. This review has now been updated to reflect the current $9.99 per month price point.
YouTube TV 4K Plus overview
|Unlimited (at home)
Adding and using 4K Plus
Signing up to the add-on is super simple and not any different to signing up to YouTube TV in general. 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 signing in to the account via a browser.
Due to this, 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 immediately 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 through various tags including Sports, Shows, Soccer, Baseball, Nature, Food, and Documentary.
It is also possible to see what’s currently available to watch live in 4K through the live 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. 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, the additional streams are only available when at home. When away from home, 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, as it is 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 any 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, further 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 is grayed out, and clicking the icon won’t actually download the video.
Is 4K Plus worth it?
For those really into watching sports then the upgrade is probably worth paying for. At the previous $19.99 per month rate, it was hard to justify the additional cost but $9.99 feels far more appropriate and much easier to justify. The upgrade to 4K, coupled with the additional streams, and the option to download recordings, does make for a good overall upgrade to the base plan.
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. Naturally, your ISP miles will vary in terms of streaming quality.
For those less interested in sports, 4K Plus is probably not yet worth paying extra for. Unless you are really in need of the additional streams or downloads, there is just not enough content available in 4K to make it worthwhile. This will vary between households as some homes may find they are fine with the selection of 4K videos.
If you are being offered the upgrade at $4.99 per month, that changes things. At the lower price, the 4K Plus upgrade is worth checking out, and especially if you can also take advantage of the 30-day free trial that’s on offer.