YouTube confirmed last night (17) that it stopped the experience that would supposedly restrict access to 4K videos to its Premium users. The idea, noticed by several people and publicized on Reddit and Twitter, was definitely abandoned by the platform.
Rumors began to surface earlier this month, when some users – who were later found to be part of a group selected by YouTube to test blocking 4K resolution behind a paywall – began posting screenshots with the callsign “Premium” in Ultra HD videos.
Apparently, the move was intended to add a new feature that would be exclusive to YouTube Premium subscribers, acting as yet another “attraction” for the service. However, the benefit would take the feature away from the millions of free users who have already access the option since it launched in 2010.
we’ve fully turned off this experiment. viewers should now be able to access 4K quality resolutions without Premium membership. we’re here if you have other q’s
— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) October 17, 2022
Why did YouTube decide to keep 4K resolution free?
The definitive end of the experience was made official in a tweet released by the profile @TeamYouTube on Monday (17). Although the company does not provide any reason for stopping testing and generally releasing the 4K option to all users, there has been growing angry outcry from users of the platform against annoying pop-ups forcing them to subscribe to the Premium service.
Another post on Twitter – in response to a Japanese user questioning the suspension of 4K – reiterated that the test has indeed come to an end and even sent a link for evaluation, with the message: “if you have any thoughts about this test, we would appreciate it if you could send us your feedback in the following way”.
With the end of the 4K blocking “threat”, what is expected is that the YouTube marketing team can focus on creating attractions capable of convincing its users to migrate to Premium, instead of withdrawing free benefits of decades, what could be perceived as a kind of punishment.