4K will continue to be free on YouTube
Around the turn of September/October, YouTube tested requiring the Premium subscription to play videos in 4K or higher resolutions. The limitation was one of Google’s many A/B tests, meaning the change was only tested against a small group of users.
However, the test raised concerns that 4K would end up behind a paywall for all users in the future, but fortunately this does not seem to be the case. The official Twitter account “TeamYouTube” has written that the “experiment” has ended and that 4K should now be available to all users again.
we’ve fully turned off this experiment. viewers should now be able to access 4K quality resolutions without Premium membership. we’re here if you have other q’s
— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) October 17, 2022