YouTube’s mobile app can now sync to your TV without streaming for a ‘second screen’ experience – TechCrunch

YouTube is improving the app experience for those who watch videos through their televisions, the company announced today. After seeing that many YouTube users were already using the mobile app and interacting with videos while watching them on the big screen, the company is now introducing a new feature that allows users to connect their TV to their iOS or Android device to sync videos. . between devices. This makes it easier for users to interact with other YouTube features, such as comments, the Like button, or creator support, among other things, says YouTube.

The company pointed to research that found that Over 80% of people reported using another digital device while watching TV. as the driver of this product decision. He then watched as people used their own YouTube mobile app and saw many opening the video while watching YouTube on their TV and engaging with the content on their device by liking, subscribing and more.

YouTube said it saw an opportunity to harness this user behavior to address the challenges it has faced in designing a big-screen experience. Over the years, its designers have worked hard to make the TV app more user-friendly, given that remote controls are difficult to navigate, most TVs don’t have built-in web browsers, and often there is less space to work with, especially when users are watching full-screen video.

The new mobile feature helps solve some of these challenges by allowing users to turn to their mobile app instead of syncing their phone to the TV. After opening the YouTube app on the TV, they can open the mobile app on their phone and click “Connect” on the prompt that appears to sync their viewing.

This is kind of the opposite of typical casting experience, where users would tap the Cast icon on the YouTube mobile app to connect their phone to the TV. YouTube confirmed that the new feature does not rely on streaming protocols, such as Googlecast either TICK, To make it work. Instead, users simply remain signed in to their YouTube account on both devices; there is no technical complexity to the end user experience, a spokesperson said.

Once synced through the new feature, users can interact directly with the video 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. features to help creators. like Super Chat or channel memberships, among other things.

But this feature also lays the groundwork for other experiences YouTube is building, including e-commerce. The company says it’s already testing new designs for its video watch page that would make it easier for users to browse and buy products seen in videos directly from the big screen. These layouts will help guide users to their mobile device when they’re ready to buy.

In this case, a message may appear on the big screen suggesting users open the mobile app for a “second screen experience.” When they do, they’ll see a list of products featured in the video that they can then view with a tap.

Image credits: YouTube shopping experience

YouTube has signaled its interest in online shopping for some time, having launched live shopping last year, after other improvements such as merchandise shelves Y shoppable ads, for instance. At this year’s Brandcast event in May, YouTube also said it would launch soon. more live shopping featuresincluding joint streams where creators can go live together and redirects that send a creator’s audience to a brand’s channel.

According to a statement at the beginning of this year From YouTube Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan, e-commerce is a major area of ​​focus for YouTube.

The credible threat that TikTok is having on this market. TikTok has been sending users directly to other shopping platforms like Shopify or Amazon, driving millions in sales – without using Google sites along the way.

“One of the most anticipated opportunities that we will bring to our brands this year is Shopping,” Mohan had written. “This new experience leverages the deep trust creators have built with their communities to help our partners expand in the burgeoning world of e-commerce. We are thinking about shoppable videos, live purchases, and more generally how in-app purchases appear,” he reads in the post.

Another benefit of syncing the app with the TV platform directly is that it could 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, had a dispute with Roku over distributing its YouTube and YouTube TV apps on the streaming media device maker’s platform, because YouTube wanted to control things like how search results appeared or how voice search worked. in previous years also had problems with Amazon, before finally reaching an agreement.

YouTube says the new feature will work on all smart and connected TVs that have the latest YouTube app. It will also require users to sign in to YouTube on both the TV app and the mobile version, and both be connected to the internet.

The feature will roll out to all platforms with the latest YouTube app in the coming weeks, YouTube says.

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