As you may know, Youtube TV is currently only playable on TVs via casting from a Chromecast device and using a phone as remote. Device support is seen as critical to push adoption of the YouTube TV service. Especially considering that rival services like DIRECTV NOW, Sling TV and others all have widespread device support.
Devices that will initially be supported are Nvidia Shield, Android TVs and Xbox’s. Google is also working on Youtube TV apps for Roku, Apple TV, and Samsung and LG Tvs. Those apps are expected before the end of the year.
David Katzmaier from CNET has just gotten a first look of the App version of YouTube TV. The app was running on an Nvidia Shield and came away with a few key takeaways:
- The design is darker overall than the phone app, to account for dimmer living room lighting, and I like it.
- Live video remains playing full-screen in the background while you browse menus. IMO it makes more sense than the small inset window on your cable box.
- There’s an actual grid-style program guide, just like a cable box and similar to the one on DirecTV Now but with a few thumbnails. You can easily schedule future recordings there, but you can’t set up favorite channels (yet).
- The all-new Live Guide, sort of a program guide “lite,” lets you quickly blow through a text list of shows live now on all available channels.
- Multiple categories in the Library section make it easier to browse the list of stuff you’ve added to the unlimited cloud DVR, and there’s one that surfaces new-to-air episodes.
- Many of the lists were ordered first by what an algorithm thinks you want to watch, but you can also sort alphabetically or otherwise.
- Sports sections offer extra data like scores and standings for teams you’ve selected. Show pages and channel pages also deliver extra information.
- Transport controls (like play, pause, fast-forward, etc.) were easy to grasp and much more intuitive than scrubbing the screen on a phone. Thumbnails accompanied fast-forwards during VOD shows, but not recorded ones.
- Responses throughout were quick on the burly Shield. I asked about other devices and YouTube’s reps said they can tweak the app to improve performance if necessary, minimizing animations for example.
- They also said specifically that the Roku app would have the same design as everything else, not the generic template design for some Roku apps.
- Cool extra alert: You can login quickly by typing an access code into a field that appears automatically on the YouTube TV phone app, instead of fumbling with a keyboard on the TV.