The Pros and Cons of Choosing YouTube’s 1080p Enhanced or 1080p Video Quality Settings


What are the technical differences between YouTube’s 1080p Enhanced and 1080p video quality options, and how do they affect the viewing experience?

I have noticed that most videos with 1080p resolution do not look much sharper than those with 720p resolution on YouTube. Is this due to intentional bandwidth limitations by YouTube to promote the Enhanced option, or are there other factors involved?


YouTube is one of the most popular platforms for watching and sharing videos online. However, not all videos are created equal when it comes to quality and resolution. YouTube offers various video quality options for users to choose from, ranging from 144p to 4K. Among these options, two of the most common ones are 1080p and 1080p Enhanced. But what are the differences between them, and how do they impact the quality of the videos?

Resolution and Bitrate

The first and most obvious difference between 1080p and 1080p Enhanced is the resolution. Resolution refers to the number of pixels that make up an image or a video. The higher the resolution, the more detail and clarity the image or video has. 1080p means that the video has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, which is considered high-definition (HD). 1080p Enhanced, on the other hand, means that the video has a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels, which is also known as quad HD (QHD) or 2K.

However, resolution is not the only factor that determines the quality of a video. Another important factor is the bitrate, which refers to the amount of data that is transferred per second when streaming or downloading a video. The higher the bitrate, the more information and detail the video has. Bitrate is measured in megabits per second (Mbps) or kilobits per second (Kbps). YouTube adjusts the bitrate of its videos depending on the resolution, the device, the network, and the user’s preference. According to YouTube’s help page, the approximate bitrate ranges for 1080p and 1080p Enhanced are as follows:

  • 1080p: 8 Mbps to 12 Mbps
  • 1080p Enhanced: 16 Mbps to 24 Mbps
  • As you can see, 1080p Enhanced has a much higher bitrate than 1080p, which means that it can deliver more detail and quality to the video. However, this also means that it requires more bandwidth and data to stream or download. Therefore, users who have limited or slow internet connections may experience buffering, lagging, or stuttering when watching 1080p Enhanced videos. In contrast, 1080p videos are more compatible and accessible for most users and devices.

    Viewing Experience and Availability

    The difference between 1080p and 1080p Enhanced also affects the viewing experience of the users. Generally speaking, 1080p Enhanced videos look sharper, clearer, and more realistic than 1080p videos, especially when viewed on larger screens or devices that support higher resolutions. For example, if you watch a 1080p Enhanced video on a 4K monitor or TV, you will notice more details and colors than if you watch a 1080p video on the same device. However, if you watch a 1080p Enhanced video on a smaller screen or a device that does not support higher resolutions, such as a smartphone or a tablet, you may not notice much difference from a 1080p video. In fact, you may even waste data and battery by choosing a higher quality option that your device cannot fully display.

    Another factor that affects the viewing experience is the availability of the video quality options. Not all videos on YouTube have the 1080p Enhanced option, as it depends on the original resolution and quality of the uploaded video, as well as the encoding and processing by YouTube. Some videos may only have up to 1080p or lower quality options, while some videos may have up to 4K or higher quality options. YouTube also sometimes changes or removes the video quality options for certain videos, regions, or devices, depending on various factors such as demand, performance, or policy. Therefore, users may not always have the choice to watch videos in 1080p Enhanced or 1080p, depending on the availability and compatibility of the videos.


    In conclusion, 1080p and 1080p Enhanced are two of the video quality options that YouTube offers to its users. They differ in terms of resolution, bitrate, viewing experience, and availability. 1080p Enhanced has a higher resolution and bitrate than 1080p, which means that it can deliver more detail and quality to the video. However, it also requires more bandwidth and data to stream or download, and it may not be compatible or available for all devices or videos. 1080p, on the other hand, has a lower resolution and bitrate than 1080p Enhanced, which means that it may look less sharp and clear than 1080p Enhanced. However, it is more accessible and compatible for most users and devices, and it may not have much difference from 1080p Enhanced when viewed on smaller screens or lower resolutions. Therefore, users should choose the video quality option that best suits their needs, preferences, and resources when watching videos on YouTube.


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