Subscribers are reporting improved video quality

Content streaming has always been about exceptional picture quality in the convenience of your home. With high-resolution displays becoming a household feature (literally), it is no surprise streaming services are offering content in high resolution. YouTube is no different, and it was recently spotted experimenting with a high bitrate 1080p stream. Now, YouTube TV users are also reporting signs of better-than-usual bitrate streams.

To clarify, bitrate is indicative of a video stream’s compression, and a higher bitrate means lower compression. As a result, high bitrate video exhibits less pixelation in darker scenes or shadows and more picture clarity even when the resolution in pixels remains unchanged. Bitrate shouldn’t be conflated with a video’s frame rate, which represents the smoothness of motion.

Some YouTube TV subscribers have shared their experience on Reddit (via 9to5Google), saying the picture quality has improved recently, even though a dedicated option isn’t available in the stream quality settings section. One redditor went to great lengths to find out if the bitrate has actually increased or if viewers were enjoying a placebo effect triggered by widespread enthusiasm. They shared the average bitrate from their router app but couldn’t determine an increase conclusively.

The redditor’s findings included lesser blotchiness in dark scenes, which is much easier to spot on a large screen. Cinema was noticeably better than normal programming like news, but the user admits testing wasn’t scientific, so we must wait for official confirmation from YouTube. The platform has not spoken of any quality enhancements made to the YouTube TV streaming settings, but it isn’t outside the realm of possibility, given similar experimentation on the main YouTube app.

We just hope the option for lower compression video isn’t paywalled in due course. It would be the most logical option for YouTube as a business, but as for the main app, YouTube previously confirmed it has no plans to drop the bitrate for free tier users to accommodate a new high bitrate option. Plans for YouTube TV remain anyone’s best guess.

Conclusion on YouTube TV may have jumped on the high-bitrate bandwagon

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