YouTube Premium feels like one of the more expensive services out there, since it’s asking more than something like Disney+ or HBO Max, but just to make a free service work better, by eliminating ads and more. The newest additions to Premium probably won’t change your mind on that, whether you’re willing to pay for it or not. But they might just tip the scales if you’re a videophile, or you want to watch videos along with your remote friends.
According to the latest YouTube blog post, the new additions to Premium include a “1080p premium” tier of video quality, which boosts the bitrate for playback similar to VuDu’s enhanced video options. At the moment it’s only available on iOS devices, but it’ll be rolling out to Premium web users as an experiment in the near future. There’s also better integration across web and mobile devices: Premium users will see a “continue watching” mini-video if they’ve paused on their other gadget, without having to dive into the Library or History tab.
YouTube is now supporting iOS SharePlay, which allows different users to watch a video in sync while talking on FaceTime. (Only one person on the call needs to be subscribed to Premium.) Android users could already do this through the Live Sharing feature on Google Meet, likewise locked behind the Premium tier. Android and iOS YouTube apps will also get the ability to add videos to the upcoming queue without needing to create a new playlist.
YouTube Premium remains an $11.99 a month subscription, which is odd, since the YouTube TV service keeps jumping up in price. Existing benefits (which aren’t going anywhere) include ad-free playback, background playback on mobile devices, mobile offline downloads, and ad-free access to the YouTube Music app.