YouTube TV Rolls Out 5.1 Surround Sound, 4K Ultra HD Add-On Tier

YouTube TV is finally rolling out 5.1 Dolby surround sound audio support — which has been among users’ biggest requests — and is launching a premium “4K Plus” service tier.

The 4K Plus add-on package, in addition to providing the option watch select content in 4K, also lets subscribers download shows from their DVR to watch offline on mobile devices and provides access to an unlimited number of streams at home (vs. a max of three simultaneous streams for the regular YouTube TV service).

YouTube TV’s 4K Plus will be available at an additional $19.99 per month regularly, on top of the base $64.99/month price. In an introductory promo offer, new YouTube TV customers can get 4K Plus for $9.99/month for 12 months.

According to YouTube, 4K Plus will let subscribers watch “major sports events this summer” in 4K; live content from networks including NBC; sports like college football and basketball later this year; and on-demand content from FX, Discovery and Tastemade. YouTube had announced plans for the 4K tier earlier this year.

“With a compatible 4K-enabled TV and/or streaming device, you can enjoy watching content in one of the best, most crisp resolutions,” Neal Mohan, YouTube’s chief product officer, wrote in a blog post Monday announcing the launch.

On the sound front, YouTube TV will add 5.1 Dolby audio capabilities for “select devices,” available to all subscribers over the coming weeks, according to Mohan.

A YouTube rep said 5.1 Dolby support will be coming first to smart TVs followed by other devices but didn’t have details on manufacturers or models. The rep said a list of supported devices will be on YouTube TV’s help website as the rollout commences.

In addition, YouTube TV is adding features designed to make it easier to watch live sports. Those include the ability to jump to a specific sport in a recording (e.g., a tennis women’s singles event), advanced search capabilities to add DVR recordings (including to ability to search by league, team or tournament), and — for the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games — a medal counter to see standings by country in real time.


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