The new “1080p Premium” option was spotted by some Reddit users. After that YouTube confirmed that it is testing a new “1080p Premium” option for its Premium subscribers.
Paul Pennington, a spokesperson for the company, clarified that the feature is only available to a selected group of YouTube Premium subscribers.
1080p Premium is an enhanced bitrate version of 1080p which provides more information per pixel that results in a higher-quality viewing experience.
Pennington further added that
“there are no changes to the existing quality offerings for 1080p (HD) resolution on YouTube.”
To understand the bitrates let’s take the example of YouTube’s standard 1080p quality bitrate. It is between 8 and 10 Mbps, which falls short compared to the Blu-ray bitrates of 40 Mbps or original exports.
Video quality isn’t determined by resolution alone. The video codec used to compress the footage also impacts video quality. Some codecs are more efficient than others, but the process is complicated. In summary, bitrate and codec are both important factors that affect video quality.
Earlier YouTube used to show the HD moniker in front of 720p as well but later on AV1 codec was standardized for videos from SD resolutions to 720p. It seems YouTube might use AV1 for the new non-premium 1080p delivery as well. While the 1080p premium users might receive more high-bitrate video versions. But this is all pure speculation at this point and we can’t get to the bottom of this situation for now.
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