YouTube ‘redefining’ video experience
February 18, 2021
By Colin Mann
YouTube has shared details of its efforts to open what it describes as “a new chapter for video” with enhancements including easier navigation and 4K viewing options.
In a blog post, Investing to empower the YouTube experience for the next generation of video, Neal Mohan, Chief Product Officer, YouTube, notes that with video becoming an even more important part of our daily lives, the needs of viewers are evolving faster than ever. “To meet these demands in the year ahead, we’re looking to redefine how the world experiences video,” he advises. “You can think of YouTube as a global stage for video: Like any good stage manager, our job is to create the best setting for our creators and the best viewing experience for our audience.”
One element is easier navigation. “In the last few years alone, we’ve introduced a new desktop design, new mobile features and a new look for the watch page,” he reports. “This year, we’ll bring more updates across devices to help connect viewers with their favourite creators and content. Last year, we launched video chapters to help viewers more easily navigate within a video. Since then, we’ve seen more and more creators adding chapters to their videos—more than 20,000 videos a day. Creator Marques Brownlee uses the feature on his popular tech reviews. If you want to learn which phone earned the ‘Best Battery Award’ in his 2020 Smartphone Awards, one click will take you straight there. We’ll soon expand this feature to automatically add video chapters to relevant videos. We’ll also be making the watch experience feel more intuitive, like modernising our design for tablet,” he reveals.
Another area is supporting emerging formats. “YouTube has long invested proactively in the latest visual technologies,” he says. “We now support a combination of SD, HD, 4K, VR, HDR, and live video on nearly every device with an Internet connection—from desktops to mobile, and gaming consoles to VR headsets. During a year when so many of us stayed home, channels like AirPano VR allowed us to experience the wonders of the world in immersive new ways. Later this year, we’ll launch a redesign of the YouTube VR app homepage to improve navigation, accessibility, and search functionality,” he reveals.
“With a global audience of over two billion logged in users coming to YouTube every month—more than ever, we know we have to build custom experiences and apps that respond to each person’s unique needs,” admits Rohan.
“While the majority of YouTube videos are watched on mobile, our fastest area of growth is the TV,” he says. “That’s why we’ve brought that same spirit of YouTube’s experience to TV content with YouTube TV. After just a few years, YouTube TV now has more than 3 million paid subscribers, 85+ networks, and offers unlimited DVR. Sports fans can even enjoy their favourite games with the ability to view key plays, hide spoilers, and check out real-time stats. And there’s more to come, including a new add-on option that lets viewers watch available shows in 4K or download them to their DVR to watch later offline. Plus, this option will add unlimited concurrent streams at home, so the whole family can enjoy YouTube TV on different screens at once,” he advises.
As the landscape of music continues to shift in dynamic ways, YouTube is launching more personalised mixes centred around the everyday activities and moods enjoyed with music, whether you’re trying to work out, focus, relax, or commute to work. “Music fans who love creating their own playlists will have even more features at hand, and we’ll also make user-created playlists more discoverable to others on the platform,” he confirms.