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YouTube on Xbox Series X just got better — here’s how

Xbox Series X console
(Image credit: Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Video resolution is important, but it isn’t the only important component of a truly great picture. HDR is just as important, and the Xbox Series X just got an HDR upgrade that’s sure to leave PS5 owners jealous.

YouTube just activated HDR across all compatible Xbox consoles, which includes the new Xbox Series X and Series S consoles, as well as the older Xbox One X and One S.

Despite the fact the PS4 version of the YouTube app has supported HDR since 2019, that feature has been suspiciously absent from the PS5. It's weird considering strong HDR support is one of the main reasons to pick up a next-gen console. 

The Xbox One X and One S never supported HDR either, even though both consoles supported it since launch. Likewise, YouTube has supported HDR since 2016, so this update is correcting a long-standing error. It just so happens that it gives the next-gen Series S and Series X a small boost over Sony.

If you want see if your console is actually displaying content in HDR, Engadget notes that you can do it by enabling the “stats for nerds” panel. Just navigate to the button with the three dots on the left side of the screen, and scroll to the very end to activate this panel.

From there you’ll be able to see that it’s streaming in the PQ Rec.2020 HDR format with VP9-2 codec. That won’t mean much to a lot of people, there’s a reason why it’s called stats for nerds, but it does confirm the app is playing in HDR.

There isn’t a huge amount of HDR content on YouTube at the moment, despite support on a lot of popular devices, but you can still enjoy what little there is. Let’s just hope the PS5 gets the update soon, so everyone can enjoy it no matter what console they were able to buy.

And don’t forget that retailers are getting more next-gen consoles constantly, so check our guides on where to buy Xbox Series X and where to buy PS5 to see what’s coming where.