YouTube is apparently in experimental mode, and sadly for users, none of their experiments and/or testing seems to benefit those who use the ad-supported (free) version of the service. The last time we talked about this, it was 10+ unskippable ads before a video. This time? 4K resolution videos behind the YouTube Premium paywall.
As shown by a user on Twitter, the quality settings on a YouTube video showed that the service is testing the idea of placing 4K resolution and up behind the Premium paywall. That means unless you pay for a Premium subscription, the highest quality of video you’ll be able to watch is 1440p. While that resolution will be plenty for some, anyone looking to experience the latest Droid Life video in 4K will need to pay for the pleasure.
In a response to that user, YouTube says, “It looks like your part of our experiment to know better the feature preferences Premium & non-Premium viewers.”
Grammatical error beside (and who cares about grammar on Twitter, anyway?), YouTube saying that they want to test what paid vs. non-paid users prefer in terms of quality seems odd. I pay for my subscription, but I hardly ever watch videos in 4K. 1080p is plenty for me, as I imagine it is for most others. What exactly are they trying to accomplish with this test? Personally, it seems they are simply trying to put as many features as possible behind its Premium paywall as they can before people start complaining.
Should 4K be a premium feature?
If YouTube first introduced 4K as a Premium feature, sure, keep it that way. However, that’s not what is happening. 4K support has been around for some time for all users (paid and non-paid), so you can’t go back and make it Premium now that people are familiar with having access to it. That’s not the way things work. At least, that’s not the way things should work.
I’m sure we have folks around here that have thoughts on this matter. I’d love to hear them. Is this fine for YouTube to control its bandwidth based on how much you pay them? Or should all users have access to any video quality?