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YouTube TV considers more “enhanced” picture settings

The YouTube TV program guide shows an episode of "Yellowstone" on the Paramount Network.
The YouTube TV program guide shows an episode of “Yellowstone” on the Paramount Network. (Graphic by The Desk)

Google-owned cable replacement YouTube TV is testing different settings that aim to deliver an improved video signal without using additional bandwidth.

Earlier this year, YouTube TV began testing a “1080p Enhanced” setting that leverages a different video codec to deliver an improved picture. Now, YouTube TV is experimenting with a “720p Enhanced” setting that could do the same for lower-resolution video signals.

While some broadcasters make 1080p signals available over the air and via satellite, most broadcast and cable networks encode their video signals in 1080i, which transmits using interlaced video instead of progressive scan. It wasn’t clear if YouTube TV up-converted the signals to 1080p for the 1080p Enhanced feature.

On the other hand, some broadcasters — including those that air live sports programming — natively transmit their signals in 720p, finding progressive scan offers numerous benefits over interlaced video for fast-action events like football, basketball and soccer.

Some YouTube TV subscribers have complained that the service offers a lower-quality picture compared to other streaming pay TV platforms. Those complaints have accelerated over the past two years, as YouTube TV rolled out compression technology that allowed them to deliver more channels over less bandwidth.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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