YouTube TV in 4K: Worth It Or Not? Everything You Need To Know
Resolution and bit rate are still crucial when streaming live TV in the United States. Since freeing yourself from cable and satellite companies isn’t worth much without high-quality streaming, what good is it? With regards to 2160p, it’s nearly impossible to find 4K content. Previously, FuboTV had 4K content, and now YouTube TV has a 4K Plus add-on.
A lot of bandwidth is required to stream video, and that’s especially true for linear TV and even more so for live sports events. Even so, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that most live channels stream at 720p resolution—or even 1080p if you’re lucky. When it comes to sports, it’s important to keep in mind that frame rate is also a factor.
With regards to 2160p, it’s nearly impossible to find 4K content. Previously, FuboTV had 4K content, and now YouTube TV 4K Plus add-on has a lot to offer.
With YouTube 4K Plus add-on, you get three key features that are well worth the money (especially when you consider that the higher resolution doesn’t include everything). They’re:
- 4K viewing on available content
- You can watch as many streams as you want on your home network.
- The ability to watch recorded TV shows and movies offline on mobile devices.
Those are the main points, but let’s get more specific. Here is all the information you need about 4K streaming on YouTube TV.
What is 4K and do I need it?
4K Ultra HD is the highest quality available for home theatre use. It uses the most pixels possible, so there are more pixels in the frame to work with. Picture quality has improved dramatically, giving you a much better sense of detail and brightness.
To put things in perspective, HD uses 1,920 x 1,080 pixels for 1080p, while 4K uses 3,840 x 2,160 pixels for 2160p. If you have the content, of course, most modern devices like smart TVs and game consoles support 4K viewing.
Only a few streaming services offer 4K, and most only offer a limited number of titles in this resolution. 4K is optimized for larger screens, so if you enjoy watching movies on your smart TV, you can take advantage of it.
Images on your smart TV’s 55-inch screen are much clearer and more defined because of 4K viewing, which has more pixels to fit the frame. This is in contrast to streaming something in SD to a large screen, which is likely to appear blurry and even stretched.
YouTube TV 4K Price and how to subscribe it
To begin, here are the essentials: For 4K content, you’ll need an active YouTube TV subscription. As of April 2022, that costs $65 a month, plus tax. It costs an additional $20 per month to add the 4K Plus service option. However, for the first year, it’s being offered at a $10-a-month promotional discount. If you don’t, you’ll have to pay the full amount.
So, for the first year, your YouTube TV subscription will cost $75 per month, and then $85 per month if you don’t add any other add-ons.
Using a web browser, log into your YouTube TV account and add the 4K Plus subscription fee. In the upper right corner, click your avatar, then Settings, and then Membership. (Alternatively, you can click on this link to be taken directly there.) The 4K Plus add-on can be found and added.
If you’ve changed your mind about the 4K Plus upgrade, you can remove it from your account there as well.
What can you watch with YouTube TV in 4K ?
When you purchase the YouTube TV 4K Plus add-on, YouTube TV does not automatically upscale to a higher resolution. No, that’s not how things work. However, in order to make use of that feature, your content must be available in 4K resolution. In fact, it’s only one-third of what you get, but it’s definitely the most important third.
The on-demand content and the live content available in 4K resolution can both be divided into two categories. You’ll be able to watch shows from Discovery, FX, Tastemade, and Nat Geo on demand. Some of the most well-known are: What We Do in the Shadows, Snowfall, Make This Tonight, Struggle Meals, and How It’s Made, to name a few. For a prerecorded and optimized for streaming video, they look fantastic in 4K resolution.
Live events, on the other hand, are where 4K content really comes into its own. We’re referring to sports here. ESPN, Fox Sports, and NBC Sports are all represented on this front. Naturally, the choices are limited by the time of year. There is college football and the English Premier League, for example, in the fall.
Even though there aren’t many sports in 4K yet, we’ll take what we can get. YouTube TV’s Home tab and 4K filter are the best places to look for what’s coming up.
“But it’s not true 4K!” will be yelled out at this point. And they’re probably right, too. The vast majority of sporting events are streamed from some sort of upgraded feed. YouTube TV streamed a 4K-resolution version of the video that was shot in either 720p or 1080p (more likely the latter). Yes, a native 4K resolution would be a huge improvement. In the case of Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, this is what you get. The problem is moving that much data in real time to the millions of people who watch a live sporting event. There is still the issue of scaling up for now.
However, sports in 4K look better than they do in HD. It’s a big improvement.
Which devices supports YouTube TV in 4K?
At this point, the situation becomes more complicated. Of course, not every piece of hardware on the market is capable of supporting 4K. (and your TV also will have to have a 4K panel). On the official list of 4K-capable YouTube TV-enabled devices are:
- Android TV
- Apple TV
- Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
- Chromecast Ultra (with 4K displays capable of HDCP 2.2)
- Hisense TVs
- Samsung & LG smart TVs
- Vizio SmartCast TVs
- PlayStation 4 Pro
- Nvidia Shield
Web browsers are clearly not included in that list, despite the fact that a 4K monitor can be had for a reasonable price these days. At 1080p, YouTube TV is the best.
Even though YouTube TV works with the above smart TVs, you need a device that can see 4K to watch anything in UHD on YouTube.
There are some devices that just don’t work with 4K. YouTube TV can’t stream in 4K on Android mobile, desktop, iPad/iPhone, PlayStation 4, Roku, or Xbox One. Even if you buy a UHD movie from a device that supports it, like an Apple TV, it won’t play in 4K on your Android phone or iPhone. At most, it will play in HD at 1080p.
Other streaming services, like Amazon Prime Video, let you stream in 4K on game consoles. If you want to watch UHD videos on your Xbox or PlayStation, you could look there. Or, if you want to stream 4K content on your Roku, fuboTV has you covered.
How much bandwidth do I need to watch YouTube TV in 4K?
To watch UHD content, you need a fast internet connection even if the content is available in 4K and your device is up to the task of decoding it.
You’ll notice a big difference in the quality of your stream if your internet speed is low. It’s not uncommon for streaming services to demand that you have at least three megabits per second (Mbps) of bandwidth in order to stream in SD quality.
To stream in Ultra HD on YouTube TV, you’ll need an internet connection with a steady speed of at least 15 Mbps. If your download speed falls below this threshold at any point, your video will most likely be re-encoded in 1080p. Re-enabling 4K viewing is possible, but only if your internet connection speeds are high enough.
An even faster connection is needed if multiple members of your household plan to stream at the same time. Your internet speed would need to be 45 Mbps or higher if you plan on using all three of YouTube TV’s simultaneous streams at the same time.
YouTube TV 4K other features
One third of the features in the 4K Plus package are content in 4K resolution, as previously stated.
You’ll also be able to download recorded shows to your mobile device so that you can watch them when you’re not connected to the internet. To watch a movie on the subway, you won’t need to have a data connection. For the show, all you have to do is click on the “DOWNLOAD” button (which looks like an arrow pointing downward). In order to download the content, the button must be greyed out.
Downloaded content can only be used on a single device at a time. It’s impossible to watch that show on another device until you delete the downloaded version.
4K Plus also includes the ability to watch on multiple devices simultaneously, so long as you’re connected to your home network when you’re doing so. Family members using the same account can take advantage of this feature as well.
Only three streams can be played simultaneously if you’re not connected to your home network.
YouTube TV is adding 4K movies and TV shows to its library, but it is not a 4K streaming service without the 4K Plus add-on. The YouTube TV service with 4K Plus plan costs around $85 per month, but you can get a free trial before you buy it.
To stream in 4K on YouTube TV, you need 4K content, a compatible device, and a consistent high-speed internet connection of 15 Mbps or more. It doesn’t matter if the video is in 4K if you don’t have the right equipment or your internet is slow. A seven-day free trial lets you try the service risk-free.