YouTube’s Enhanced Bitrate: Elevating Video Quality and Streaming Experience

YouTube has made remarkable strides in video quality over recent years. Initially revealed in February, the platform’s plans for an upgraded bitrate option for YouTube Premium subscribers caught attention. Following this, YouTube formally introduced the feature on iOS in April, with assurances that it would eventually extend to the web. By June, the feature was under broader testing, even spanning select Android phones and Android TV setups. Presently, YouTube has announced the introduction of the higher bitrate option on the web, nearly four months after its iPhone debut.

For YouTube Premium subscribers worldwide, accessing the new 1080p enhanced bitrate option will involve adjusting video quality settings. Curiously, this option will also be visible to non-Premium users, though selecting it will prompt an invitation to subscribe to Premium, as observed by The Verge. As of now, the enhanced bitrate choice might not be available for all videos, but it’s anticipated that this will evolve.


Paul Pennington, a spokesperson from YouTube, confirmed the global rollout of the 1080p enhanced bitrate option to various platforms. Apart from web users, this enhancement will extend to devices like Google Chromecast and certain video game consoles. However, Pennington conveyed the unfortunate news that this feature hasn’t yet been extended to Android.

Nevertheless, there have been instances of testing among Android users, with a few spotting the option within the YouTube app a couple of months back. Yet, the wait continues for Android users to access the enhanced bitrate option. Notably, despite the introduction of this new “enhanced” feature for Premium subscribers, free users can still enjoy unrestricted streaming of standard 1080p videos.

The elevated bitrate on YouTube videos translates to improved compression, notably reducing pixelation—particularly in low-light scenes—and delivering a substantial enhancement in video quality.

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