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YouTube backs out of 4K paywall experiment

YouTube has mercifully brought its 4K premium paywall experiment to a close, meaning none of its users need to stump up extra cash to watch videos in the best streaming quality.

Team YouTube has taken to Twitter to indicated that it has “fully turned off” its YouTube 4K experiment that saw some unlucky users asked to upgrade to the Premium tier if they wanted full-quality streams.

Earlier in October it emerged that some YouTube users were the victims of a cruel (relatively speaking) YouTube experiment. When attempting to watch YouTube content in full 2160p, these unlucky few were being told that this was a Premium-only option.

In order to watch YouTube videos in native 4K (particularly useful if you’re watching at home on your 4K TV), these guinea pigs were essentially being encouraged to pay to upgrade to the $11.99/£11.99 a month YouTube Premium tier.

Typically, YouTube Premium gets rid of ads and also offers access to the company’s Spotify-esque YouTube Music streaming service. This seemed to be an indicator that it was looking to promote more Premium subscriptions by locking the hitherto free 4K option behind a paywall.

The test was evidently unpopular, with YouTube’s official tweet explaining the experiment since deleted. Our TV & Audio Editor Kob Monney reckoned that it was a wrong-headed move from the start, with 4K or Ultra HD being the resolution that we should all be watching our content in by now.

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