YouTube updates TV app to be more interactive with shrinking video player

If you watch a lot of YouTube on your TV, you’ll probably notice a change to the YouTube app that is currently rolling out to Fire TVs, Google TV, Android TV, and other TV streaming devices. The update, as Google explains, is meant to allow viewers to better “engage with the content they’re watching.” It sets out to achieve this by shrinking the video player and displaying elements like comments, video descriptions, and more to the right of the playing video, instead of overlaying those elements on top of the video.

Years ago, YouTube’s app for Smart TVs and streaming media players was missing the vast majority of additional elements that accompany a YouTube video on other platforms. Items like live chats, video comments, video descriptions, and even video end cards were completely inaccessible when watching a YouTube video on a TV. Those elements have slowly made their way to YouTube’s TV apps but most of them have been buried in menus and difficult to get to.

The new update to YouTube apps on TVs is setting out to change that with the ability to navigate through video elements without interrupting the ongoing video. Tapping select while a YouTube video is playing continues to bring up the familiar array of buttons and options you’re probably used to, but now, if you select the video title, you’ll see the video you are watching shrink and a menu open on the right side of the screen. In that menu, you’ll find the video’s stats, description, comments, chapters, and even products featured in the video.

Some YouTube elements and options still appear in the same video-covering overlay that they’ve always been in, such as video settings like playback speed and video quality. If you’re like me and have been wanting a quick way to jump between 1x and 2x playback speed, like you can do in YouTube’s mobile app by holding a finger down on the screen, unfortunately, you’re out of luck. Maybe that’ll come in the next big update.

  1. GL says:

    I use SmartTube app to avoid all of those intrusive adds. It offers so many features that I never felt to go back to YouTube app

    • Juan says:

      Does it support 4K videos?

    • Scalinger says:

      Yes, the SmartTube-app is really very convenient. Everything is customisable. I particularly like the option to customise the button assignment. I have assigned speed up and down to the fast-forward and rewind buttons. Fast forward and rewind are on the right and left buttons, etc. Subtitles are available for almost all languages for almost all videos. The main menu is customisable, as are the navigation buttons etc. etc.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Noticed recently that the X-Ray Feature with the FIRE TV player behaves similarly after an update. Smaller main screen will continue to play video with interactive CAST, SCENE and TRIVIA information on the right side of the screen.

  3. Afaf says:

    I tried this update which appears on my tv screen thru this website… A nsg of ( redirect appears on my phone screen and takes forever to redirect …to what I don’t know…probably for customers to see all the stupid ads that pop up on the page…I have a code that im supposed to put on downloader which i dont know where it is.. its very complicated and my subscription and money are still valid but i havehad a tv for a week

  4. Sartec says:

    If you watch a yoctosecond or more of YouTube and don’t have this app, I feel very sorry for you.

    My only complaint is I don’t think up/down voting in the chat/comments sub-window can be set with the remote by
    Settings->General->Key remapping, but I could be wrong.

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