YouTube Premium (formerly YouTube Red) is YouTube's premium subscription service. It offers advertising-free streaming, access to exclusive content, background and offline video playback on mobile devices, and access to the Google Play Music "All Access" service. YouTube Premium was originally announced on November 12, 2014, as "Music Key", a subscription music streaming service, and was intended to integrate with and replace the existing Google Play Music "All Access" service. On October 28, 2015, the service was relaunched as YouTube Red, offering ad-free streaming of all videos, as well as access to exclusive original content. As of November 2016, the service has 1.5 million subscribers, with a further million on a free-trial basis. As of June 2017, the first season of YouTube Originals had gotten 250 million views in total.
YouTube originally offered videos at only one quality level, displayed at a resolution of 320×240 pixels using the Sorenson Spark codec (a variant of H.263), with mono MP3 audio. In June 2007, YouTube added an option to watch videos in 3GP format on mobile phones. In March 2008, a high-quality mode was added, which increased the resolution to 480×360 pixels. In December 2008, 720p HD support was added. At the time of the 720p launch, the YouTube player was changed from a 4:3 aspect ratio to a widescreen 16:9. With this new feature, YouTube began a switchover to H.264/MPEG-4 AVC as its default video compression format. In November 2009, 1080p HD support was added. In July 2010, YouTube announced that it had launched a range of videos in 4K format, which allows a resolution of up to 4096×3072 pixels. In March 2015, support for 4K resolution was added, with the videos playing at 3840 × 2160 pixels. In June 2015, support for 8K resolution was added, with the videos playing at 7680×4320 pixels. In November 2016, support for HDR video was added which can be encoded with Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) or Perceptual Quantizer (PQ). HDR video can be encoded with the Rec. 2020 color space.More Info
From 2008 to 2017, users could add "annotations" to their videos—such as pop-up text messages and hyperlinks. These functions were notably used as the basis for interactive videos, which used hyperlinks to other videos to achieve branching elements. In March 2017, it was announced that the annotations editor had been discontinued and the feature would be sunset, because their use had fallen rapidly, users had found them to be an annoyance, and because they were incompatible with mobile versions of the service. Annotations were removed entirely from all videos on January 15, 2019. YouTube had introduced standardized widgets intended to replace annotations in a cross-platform manner, including "end screens" (a customizable array of thumbnails for specified videos displayed near the end of the video) and "cards", but they are not backwards compatible with existing annotations, while the removal of annotations will also break all interactive experiences which depended on them.More Info
In late November 2018, YouTube announced that it would introduce a "Story" feature, similar to ones used by Snapchat and Instagram, which would allow its content creators to engage fans without posting a full video. The stories, called "Reels," would be up to 30 seconds in length and would allow users to add "filters, music, text and more, including new "YouTube-y" stickers." Unlike those of other platforms, YouTube's stories could be made multiple times and would not expire. Instead of being placed at the top of the user interface as is commonly done, the "Reels" option would be featured as a separate tab on the creator's channel. As of its announcement, only certain content creators would have access to the "Reels" option, which would be utilized as a beta-version for further feedback and testing. If users engage more with the "Reels" option, it may end up as a more permanent feature and "trigger their appearance on the viewer's YouTube home page as recommendations." As of November 28, 2018, YouTube did not specify when "Reels" would arrive in Beta or when it would be publicly released.More Info
In March 2010, YouTube began free streaming of certain content, including 60 cricket matches of the Indian Premier League. According to YouTube, this was the first worldwide free online broadcast of a major sporting event. On March 31, 2010, the YouTube website launched a new design, with the aim of simplifying the interface and increasing the time users spend on the site. Google product manager Shiva Rajaraman commented: "We really felt like we needed to step back and remove the clutter." In May 2010, YouTube videos were watched more than two billion times per day. This increased to three billion in May 2011, and four billion in January 2012. In February 2017, one billion hours of YouTube was watched every day.More Info
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