YouTube Premium is adding new offerings for subscribers, including higher 1080p HD video quality, an expanded co-watching experience for FaceTime via iOS SharePlay, and more precise queuing options for mobile users.
For $11.99 a month, subscribers using iOS will experience “an enhanced bitrate version of 1080 HD video quality” in the coming weeks, YouTube says.
While all users can access 1080p quality videos on the app, premium users will see videos that “look extra crisp and clear, especially for videos with lots of detail and motion,” like sports and gaming clips, says YouTube.
In addition, the video-sharing app added that a similar enhanced video-quality “experiment” is “coming to Web soon.”
ExtendingYouTube Premium’s allure beyond giving subscribers an ad-free experience, the platform is introducing support for Apple's SharePlay, the live co-viewing FaceTime feature already integrated into other video services such as Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max and TikTok.
Apple originally launched SharePlay in 2021 as a social option when the COVID-19 pandemic prevented folks from leaving their homes.
Now that lockdowns have lifted and people are able to return to social interactions, some news outlets have debated whether this can be considered “a perk” more than a basic functionality.
YouTube has also announced enhanced queuing abilities for premium subscribers, who can now add videos to their queue when watching on their phones and tablets. This goes beyond free users’ abilities, which include saving videos to playlists, or via the “Watch Later” option, as it invites users to decide exactly what they want to watch next, like one would do with songs on Spotify.
Premium subscribers on Android, iOS and web will also see a new feature in the coming weeks that allows them to revisit YouTube videos they were watching on another device. Furthermore, a Smart Downloads feature on mobile will add recommended videos to premium users' libraries for offline viewing.