YouTube Reportedly Asking Some Users to Pay for 4K Streaming

BY Dave Johnson

Published 4 Oct 2022

4K Streaming

Recent reports suggest that YouTube is asking some subscribers to switch to the Premium paid subscription for 4K streaming on the platform.

Subscribing to YouTube’s Premium plan allows you to enjoy other perks on the video streaming platform. Besides ad-free viewing, other benefits include video and song downloads for offline consumption and background plays. 

Now it appears 4K video streaming which is currently free, may join the list of perks for paid users. 

According to MacRumors, some users on Reddit and Twitter claim that YouTube is asking for payment to watch videos in 4K. Admittedly, they first noticed the paywall on iOS. But we can safely presume that it extends across other operating systems. 

It’s unclear whether YouTube is slowly rolling out the feature or this is a test. However, the company has a compelling reason to charge users looking to stream in 4K. 

Why YouTube May Want Users to Pay for 4K Streaming

YouTube hasn’t made a statement about the change. Nevertheless, TechCrunch speculates that the paywall might be a new way to increase paid users on the platform. 

Google has over 50 million subscribers across YouTube Music and Premium. Also, the premium plan costs $11.99 per month in the United States. But that hasn’t translated to as much revenue as analysts expect. 

Google revealed in its Q2 2022 earnings that YouTube brought in a $6.87 billion revenue — lower than the projected $7.51 billion. So locking 4K resolution streaming behind a paywall may be a quick way to boost sign-ups and the company’s revenue. 

That said, most smartphone users will likely be satisfied with consuming YouTube content in 1440P or 1080P quality. So, if it ever rolls out globally, the new policy is more likely to affect individuals that enjoy the streaming platform on their 4K TV.