YouTube videos on your Windows PC are about to look crisper, but at a cost

Windows Central Channel on YouTube
(Image credit: Kevin Okemwa)

What you need to know

  • Google is testing a new feature to enhance your video streaming experience on Windows PCs. 
  • You'll need a subscription to YouTube's premium tier to access this feature.
  • The feature was previously limited to iOS users, but it's now rolling out to Windows PCs and Android TVs.

Clarity is one of the most important things everyone looks for when watching videos. With one of the best monitors out there, why would you compromise on the quality of videos on your display?

In April, Google debuted a new feature dubbed Enhanced Bitrate videos. It's essentially “an enhanced bitrate version of 1080p" designed to make YouTube videos crisper and more defined. While shipping the feature, it was exclusive to iOS users with a Premium subscription. However, the company indicated its plans to roll out the feature to web users in the future. 

And as it now seems, Windows users will soon be able to enjoy an enhanced video streaming experience, as spotted by the folks over at Windows Latest. Google is reportedly testing YouTube's Enhanced Bitrate videos feature on Windows 11.

There have already been several reports of a new 1080p Premium option when watching videos on Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge.

Despite introducing this new feature, YouTube will retain the standard 1080p option. As such, you'll still be able to access it with or without a premium subscription.

Notably, the feature will only be available for videos with exactly 1080p. Windows Latest spotted the difference between the music videos, Tracing that Dream by YOASOBI and YOASOBI’s Idol song. The former was uploaded to YouTube at 1080p, while the latter was in 4K. 

The enhanced bitrate version of the 1080p option was only available for the video uploaded in 1080p. And while there's not much to go about regarding how this feature is supposed to work, it's essentially going to bump the bitrate on videos uploaded to YouTube at 1080p. The experience is also rolling out to more desktops, Android TVs, and Android phones.

YouTube's premium subscription fee is currently $11.99 per month, and besides granting you access to the enhanced bitrate version of the 1080p option, you'll also get to enjoy an ad-free experience, background play, and offline viewing on mobile devices.

Microsoft took a similar approach in March and started testing a new feature dubbed Video Super Resolution in Edge Canary. It leverages machine learning, artificial intelligence capabilities, and the power of a PC's GPU to upscale the resolution of videos to up to 720p

Kevin Okemwa

Kevin Okemwa is a seasoned tech journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya with lots of experience covering the latest trends and developments in the industry. With a passion for innovation and a keen eye for detail, he has written for leading publications such as OnMSFT, MakeUseOf, and Windows Report, providing insightful analysis and breaking news on everything revolving around the Microsoft ecosystem. While AFK and not busy following the ever-emerging trends in tech, you can find him exploring the world or listening to music.