The company announced today that YouTube is improving the experience of its app for those who watch videos on their TVs. Noticing that many YouTubers are already using the mobile app and interacting with videos while watching on the big screen, the company is now introducing a new feature that allows users to connect their TV to an iOS or Android device to sync videos. between devices. According to YouTube, this makes it easier for users to interact with other YouTube features, such as comments, the “Like” button, or support for creators.
The company pointed to a study that showed that over 80% of people said they use another digital device while watching TV as the driving force behind this product decision. They then looked at how people use his own YouTube mobile app and saw that many people open videos while watching YouTube on their TV and interact with the content on their device by liking, subscribing, etc.
YouTube stated that it saw an opportunity to use this user behavior to address issues it had with developing the big screen. Over the years, its designers have struggled to make the TV app easier to use given that the remote control is difficult to navigate, most TVs do not have built-in web browsers, and there is often less room to work, especially when users are watching. video in full screen mode.
The new mobile feature helps address some of these issues as it allows users to access their mobile app instead of having to sync their phone to the TV. Once they open the YouTube app on their TV, they can then open the mobile app on their phone and tap “Connect” on the prompt that appears to sync their viewing.
It’s kind of the other side of the typical “casting” experience, where users tapped the broadcast icon on the YouTube mobile app to connect their phone to the TV. YouTube has confirmed that the new feature is independent of broadcast protocols such as Google Cast or DIALto work. Instead, users simply remain logged into their YouTube account on both devices — there is no technical complexity for the end user, the spokesperson said.
Once synced using the new feature, users can directly interact with videos from their phone while watching, which YouTube says makes it easier to read video descriptions, leave comments, share a video with a friend, or use other features to support creators. , such as Super Chat or channel memberships, among others.
But the feature also lays the groundwork for other YouTube experiences, including e-commerce. The company says it is already testing a new design for its video view page that will make it easier for users to view and purchase products seen in videos right from the big screen. These designs will help guide users to their mobile devices when they are ready to make a purchase.
In this case, a message may appear on the large screen prompting users to open the mobile app for a “second screen”. When they do, they’ll see a list of the products featured in the video, which they can browse with a tap.
YouTube has been showing interest in online shopping for a long time, launched online shopping last year, after other improvements such as trading shelves as well as advertisements, For example. At this year’s Brandcast event in May, YouTube also said it would launch soon. more live shopping featuresincluding co-streams, where creators can co-broadcast, and redirects, which direct a creator’s audience to a brand’s channel.
According to the statement Earlier this year According to YouTube’s chief product officer Neil Mohan, e-commerce is YouTube’s core business.
“One of the most anticipated opportunities we will bring to our brands this year is shopping,” Mohan wrote. “This new experience is built on the deep trust that creators have with their communities to help our partners enter the fast-paced world of e-commerce. We’re thinking about in-app purchase videos, online shopping and, more broadly, how in-app purchases are displayed.
Another benefit of directly syncing an app with a TV platform is that it can give YouTube more control over critical aspects of the user experience that it can’t always dictate on third-party TV platforms. The company, for example, got into an argument with Roku distributing its YouTube and YouTube TV apps on the platform of a streaming media device manufacturer because YouTube wanted to control things like how search results were displayed or how voice search functioned. In previous years, he also had problems with Amazon, before finally reaching an agreement.
YouTube says the new feature will work on all smart and connected TVs running the latest version of the YouTube app. It will also require users to be logged into YouTube on both the TV app and the mobile app and both be connected to the internet.
According to YouTube, the feature will roll out to all platforms with the latest YouTube app over the next few weeks.
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