Earlier this month, YouTube ran an experiment where it asked some free users to upgrade to a premium account to watch videos in 4K resolution. The company has now ended this test — probably because of uproar from users.
In a tweet, YouTube confirmed the end of the experiment and said, “viewers should now be able to access 4K quality resolutions without Premium membership.” So all users can now watch videos at the highest resolution without paying for a subscription.
YouTube ran the test to understand to gauge users’ reactions when a particular feature was pushed behind the premium tier. In a now-deleted tweet, the company told a user who got a pop-up asking them to upgrade that the user was “a part of our experiment to know better the feature preferences of Premium & non-Premium viewers.”
Google charges $9.99 per month for YouTube Music and $11.99 per month for YouTube premium in the U.S. — these prices vary across the world. The company claims to have more than 50 million paid subscribers across both offerings globally. The Premium subscription offers features like ad-free viewing, video downloads for offline consumption, and background play.
YouTube tries many ways to convert free users into paid users. Earlier this year, it ran an experiment showing users up to 11 unskippable ads before the start of a long video to let them have an uninterrupted experience. This test was short-lived and the company ended it within days.
Last week, YouTube introduced a new feature called handles — which is similar to what other social networks like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook offer — that allows creators to direct viewers to their channel easily.