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YouTube Premium, the ad-free version of the popular video-sharing platform, is introducing new features aimed at keeping and enticing subscribers. The subscription plan, which costs $11.99 per month, will now include high-quality video for web and iOS users, SharePlay support for co-watching videos on FaceTime through Apple’s platform, and additional controls for managing your queue on mobile devices.

The company believes that these new features will make YouTube Premium more appealing to potential subscribers who may not be aware of what the service provides aside from ad-free videos. The enhancements are part of a broader effort to improve YouTube Premium’s marketability to customers. Recently, YouTube added the ability to continue watching videos where you left off on any device and “smart downloads,” a feature that automatically saves recommended videos for offline access. These new features will be more front-and-center to the viewing experience, instead of running in the background where they may go unnoticed by users.

One of the most notable new features is the enhanced bitrate version of 1080p HD video quality, which will first become available to Premium subscribers on iOS and then on the web in the coming weeks. While all YouTube users will have access to 1080p video quality, the enhanced 1080p quality setting will make videos look “extra crisp and clear,” particularly for videos that have a lot of detail and motion, like sports and gaming. YouTube Premium’s goal is to provide subscribers with a premium viewing experience, not just a less annoying one by removing ads.

YouTube Premium is also introducing support for Apple’s SharePlay feature, which allows co-viewing of videos on FaceTime. This feature is already available on other video services, including competitors like Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, and TikTok, but YouTube will limit access to only paying subscribers. The move puts YouTube Premium in a different space from TikTok, which was among the first to support Apple’s co-watching feature for FaceTime users. YouTube is positioning SharePlay as a “perk” for subscribers, even though it’s a feature that was designed to connect people who can’t be together in real life, particularly during the pandemic.

Another new feature for YouTube Premium subscribers is more control over their queue. Starting today, users can add videos to their queue when watching on phones and tablets. This is different from YouTube free users who can save videos to playlists, including “Watch Later.” Queuing allows users to control which video they want to play next during their current viewing session.

Other YouTube Premium features include background play for watching when the screen is locked, offline downloads, and access to YouTube Music Premium. These enhancements to YouTube Premium’s features will likely make the subscription plan more attractive to new subscribers and help retain current ones.

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