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Is YouTube going to require a Premium subscription for 4K?

Some users have noticed a new Premium requirement for 4K resolution.

Youtube premium logo on blurred background
Image: KnowTechie

YouTube Premium gives you the ability to watch ad-free YouTube videos for $12 per month. Now, it looks like YouTube might soon require you to subscribe to YouTube Premium to watch videos in 4K.

Some users on Reddit recently posted about how YouTube was requiring a Premium subscription to watch videos in 4K resolution.

In screenshots, the option for 4K was still there. But it looks like tapping the 4K option would require you to upgrade to a premium subscription.

Youtube premium showing 4k as paid option
Image: Reddit

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It’s unclear exactly who YouTube is targeting with this new YouTube Premium 4K requirement.

One commenter said that they still have access, while another said that it was true and rolling out in multiple locations.

This could be a sort of test from Google and YouTube. And it could even be region locked to certain places.

Tech companies are known for gradually rolling out new features and, in this case, limitations in specific locations. We could be seeing the same thing with the new YouTube Premium requirement for 4K.

As you can imagine, Reddit users don’t seem too happy about the potential change. One user said, “I might quit if YouTube and Susan keep acting like fucking greedy clowns.”

Another user says, “Imagine if they make it lower and lower so now I have to watch videos in 144p like it’s 2010.” Why would you wish that evil on us?

For now, there’s not a lot of context for where this new limitation is coming from. YouTube hasn’t come out with any sort of statement or explanation, and it’s possible that we don’t hear anything for a while.

Hopefully, this is just a test, and the platform pulls back before making it official for everyone. But be prepared to potentially lose 4K videos on YouTube in the future if you’re not a Premium subscriber.

UPDATE 10/18/2022 4:15 PM ET: YouTube says they’re pulling this test back. “Viewers should now be able to access 4K quality resolutions without Premium membership,” wrote the company in a tweet.

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Staff writer at KnowTechie. Alex has two years of experience covering all things technology, from video games to electric cars. He's a gamer at heart, with a passion for first-person shooters and expansive RPGs. Shoot him an email at

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