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YouTube TV update will reportedly let you watch four channels at once

YouTube TV update will reportedly let you watch four channels at once


Alongside improvements for Shorts and YouTube Music

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YouTube TV’s interface as of February 2021.
YouTube TV’s interface as of February 2021.
Image: Google

YouTube TV, Google’s take on cable TV, could soon let viewers watch up to four live streams simultaneously in a new feature called “Mosaic Mode” reports Protocol. That’s according to a non-public presentation Google gave to its smart TV hardware partners, in which the search giant also discussed optimizations coming for YouTube Shorts on the big screen, as well as new YouTube Music functionality. 

Mosaic Mode brings to mind a similar feature that was available with Sony’s now-defunct PlayStation Vue service. Although it was announced in a presentation for Google TV and Android TV hardware manufacturers, Protocol notes that the feature is likely to eventually arrive on non-Android smart TVs from Samsung and LG given that Google likes to keep its services consistent across different hardware.

PlayStation Vue previously let you watch four streams side-by-side

Other new features detailed in the presentation include optimizations for YouTube Shorts, the company’s TikTok-style short-form video service, when viewed on large screens. The report suggests that the YouTube Shorts interface on smart TVs could eventually ditch the scroll-bar used to scrub through traditional YouTube videos, and also offer quick access to thumbs up and thumbs down buttons. Although YouTube Shorts are currently watchable in YouTube’s app on some smart TVs (such as LG’s) they play using a standard YouTube interface that’s not well-suited for their short-form style. 

Google’s development of the feature comes as TikTok has increasingly been making inroads into the smart TV space. Although it’s traditionally seen as a mobile service, TikTok is now available across a range of smart TV platforms from Samsung, LG, Google, and Amazon. But Protocol notes that Google has the advantage that YouTube is pre-installed on many TVs, while customers have to manually seek out TikTok’s apps.

Finally, YouTube Music also has a couple of new features on the way for smart TVs, like the ability for subscribers to browse and add playlists and albums to their libraries. 

Google did not immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment, but Protocol reports that at least one of the new features could arrive in an update “in the coming months.”