- YouTube TV’s picture quality varies between channels and shows, with some offering 4K and others limited to 720p.
- The new “1080p Enhanced” option promises the highest video quality on YouTube TV with thanks to a higher bitrate.
- YouTube TV has been slowly improving its image quality and adding features like surround sound and a “last channel” button.
When flipping through the channels on YouTube TV, you are likely to find that the picture quality varies widely from channel to channel, and even between different programs shown on the same channel. Some channels and shows can be streamed at 4K at an extra charge, while others offer 1080p in the form of de-interlaced 1080i, or the even lower-quality 720p.
There’s now yet another resolution option available for some YouTube TV and Primetime Channels subscribers, according to a recent statement from the company on Reddit. The option is dubbed “1080p Enhanced,” and reportedly delivers YouTube TV’s “highest video quality” thanks to a higher bitrate.
A commenter on 9to5Google’s recent reporting on the new YouTube TV quality states that the feature has been around for a couple of weeks, at least. With an official confirmation now out, it will likely not take too long to reach everyone.
YouTube TV image quality improvements are coming slowly, and still currently leave some channels stuck at 720p with no bitrate enhancements, with the poor resolution often a limitation of the channels themselves. Just last year, 9to5Google already reported that YouTube TV quietly improved the streaming bitrate for select users.
On YouTube TV, 1080p Enhanced is only on streaming devices already capable of 4K picture. It is unclear why a 4K-enabled device is needed for a lower-res 1080p picture. To see if it’s available to you and to switch to 1080p Enhanced, go to video quality settings and select the option.
YouTube itself has recently made efforts to improve picture quality; it released a “1080p Premium” quality option about this time last year, an experimental bitrate boost for paid YouTube Premium subscribers.
This streaming quality uptick joins other efforts by Google to bolster YouTube TV’s appeal. The service recently added 5.1 surround sound capability to more channels, and added a function similar to the “last” or “recall” button you may remember from traditional cable remotes, meant to drum up the last channel you were watching before the channel was switched.
Comparatively low video quality has long been a point of contention for otherwise happy YouTube TV subscribers. Many people point out that DirecTV supposedly offers vastly superior image quality, even when the networking conditions are identical. It’s good to see that YouTube TV is actively working on upping the streaming quality, complementing the otherwise great service with its easy-to-use app and good selection of channels.
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