April 22, 2024

Brighton Journal

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The YouTube app on your Roku or Chromecast just got a big upgrade

The YouTube app on your Roku or Chromecast just got a big upgrade


  • YouTube is tweaking its streaming TV app to reduce distractions and prioritize simplicity based on user feedback.
  • The revised UI features a dedicated area for details, keeping video front and center to reduce distraction.
  • YouTube's changes may be aimed at attracting more users to subscribe to Premium, which offers benefits such as ad-free viewing and offline downloads.

While YouTube may be at the top of the food chain in terms of video streaming platforms, the Google-owned service still faces its fair share of competition. Many video-based apps and services find ways to differentiate themselves through the user interface. Now, YouTube is shifting its focus to improving its user interface, with the aim of keeping viewers glued to their big screens.


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YouTube announced They're adjusting their app on streaming TV devices like Roku and Chromecast to reduce distractions while watching videos. It's making the changes based on user feedback, which suggests it could benefit from prioritizing “simplicity,” rather than more controls.

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In the revised app, you'll notice that the video you're watching is still front and center, and the playback controls you're used to haven't changed. However, when you arrow up to click on the video title and caption, you'll see a new UI that makes details much easier to digest — the video will now be collapsed to better accommodate comments, description, and other details in a dedicated area. In the outgoing UI, this same information was visible in an overlay that obscured the right side of the video, and YouTube said its goal here was to keep people engaged with the content they're streaming and reduce distractions.

A GIF of the new YouTube interface

YouTube wants to keep users engaged as it looks to add premium subscribers

It's not yet clear whether viewers will applaud these tweaks to the streaming app. However, it is possible that YouTube is making such changes in the hope of getting more existing users to subscribe to its premium service. Recently, Google expanded the availability of YouTube Premium – its paid subscription service – geographically to countries including Uganda, Morocco and Jamaica. One of the biggest advantages of YouTube Premium is that members can avoid intrusive ads while watching videos. Other features include the option to download content for offline viewing and background playback support.

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If these aren't enough reasons to start paying for a video streaming service, perhaps you'll be tempted by a bundle. In 2023, Google began looking at ways to integrate its various products and services together to create a single subscription, for example, Google One and Nest Aware were tapped to be paired together in a bundle. We've since seen this rolled out to UK users, and access to Fitbit Premium thrown in as a cherry on top, but such bundles have yet to reach US customers.