One reason why YouTube TV would add support for 4K resolution

YouTube TV
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YouTube TV just announced that it's going to add support for 4K resolution. That's a big deal for any number of reasons — mostly because 4K resolution is just better. More pixels means a sharper picture. And YouTube TV would become the second U.S.-based MVPD (that is, a streaming service that carries live TV) to support live 4K streams in the United States.

If that's actually what it was talking about, that is.

Here's the actual line from Google: "And there’s more to come, including a new add-on option that lets viewers watch available shows in 4K or download them to their DVR to watch later offline."

That's vague, as press announcements of features tend to be sometimes. Does that mean it's a new option that will somehow enable 4K resolution for something we've already been watching? If so, how much extra might it cost? And what are those shows?

You can't blame me for getting a little excited. Because if you've ever seen a sporting event in upscaled 4K resolution on FuboTV — which has the occasional game in 4K — you know that it's just a superior product. (Eventually, it'll be the norm. But right now you're lucky to get 60 frames per second in even 1080p resolution.) YouTube TV — which is the second largest live streaming service in the United States — adding any sort of live TV in 4K would be a big deal.

A day later, I'm not as sure that's what it was referring to, and there's a good reason for that. Several, in fact. YouTube TV already has channels that serve up content in 4K resolution — they just haven't done so for YouTube TV, is all. HBO Max does some content in 4K resolution. (Wonder Woman 1984 was the first movie for that.) So, too, does Showtime. As do STARZ and EPIX.

One or more of those services streaming content in 4K resolution on YouTube TV could be what Google was referring to. That makes more sense, especially since Google referred to it as an add-on option.

It's still possible that the 4K option could refer to something new, but now I'll be less surprised if it's not.

Phil Nickinson

Phil spent his 20s in the newsroom of the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, his 30s on the road for and Mobile Nations and is the Dad part of Modern Dad.