If, and that is a big if, you have an 8K TV with the latest version of Android TV and AV1 hardware support, you should now be able to stream YouTube in glorious 8K resolution.
YouTube 8K for Android TV
Following the roll-out of 8K support for 2020 LG and Samsung 8K TVs in May 2020, YouTube has now enabled 8K streaming on Android TV. It is not the first time that Google/YouTube has brought support for new video technologies to partner platforms before bringing support to its own TV platform.
The following requirements must be met:
8K Android TV, obviously
Android TV must be running Android 10 or later
Android TV hardware must have AV1 codec support (with 8K decoding)
'YouTube for Android TV' app must be updated to version 2.12.08 or later
May 2020: YouTube 8K on an LG TV
Do any 8K Android TVs live up to the requirements at this time? We are not sure. Earlier this year, TCL told FlatpanelsHD to expect YouTube 8K support on the new X915 8K TV (Europe). However, it will require a system update to Android 10 first – the last time we checked X915 was still running Android 9. We expect 2021 8K Android TVs to be compatible.
Curiously, the first changelog from YouTube also mentioned "AV1 HDR playback support" (seen in the picture below). It was later removed in a revised changelog, as seen in the table at the bottom.
First version of the changelong. Revised changelog in table below
Another new feature is Cast Connect, which "allows your Android TV app to receive messages and broadcast media status as if it were a Chromecast".
It is still early days for 8K TVs and our recommendation is to wait for the ecosystem to mature. Still, it is good to see things moving forward, albeit slowly.
YouTube ver. 2.12.08 changelong
New features and bug fixes:
- Display YouTube Music splash screen
- Cast Connect support
- Limited 8K support to Android 10 and up
- Improved resolution selection
- Fixed incorrect date and time issues
- Various other platform improvements