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TechTube for Apple TV

Like many others, I’ve developed a habit of binge-browsing YouTube videos and spending a few hours each week on YouTube channels that match my interests. Whether they’re Let’s Plays, music videos, educational stuff, documentaries, or interviews, the variety of content on YouTube provides a constant source of information and entertainment that I find superior to traditional television – or at least more engaging for me.

I haven’t been watching much YouTube on my new Apple TV, though, because I don’t like searching and browsing with the Siri Remote or Remote app; I’d rather use the YouTube app on my iPhone and beam videos to my Chromecast if I find something I want to watch on the big screen. Perhaps dictation will speed up the search process in tvOS 9.2.

TechTube, released earlier this week, is a new tvOS app that brings a curated stream of YouTube videos to the Apple TV with a minimal UI optimized for binge-watching. Once you open TechTube, you’re presented with a swipeable gallery of videos; swipe left, and the thumbnail preview starts playing without having to open the video in full screen; if you’re interested, swipe again, go to the next video, and so forth. Titles are displayed at the top of each preview and there are basic controls once you’ve opened a video in full screen, but that’s about it. There’s no complexity involved – you can’t subscribe to channels, search, or add videos to playlists. TechTube is a lean-back experience created to open the app a couple of times each day, see what’s new, and watch some videos from the selection of available picks.

And that’s the aspect of TechTube I like: I don’t have to find videos to watch. I can just open the app whenever I’m bored and relax for a bit with videos I wouldn’t normally seek out. The team behind TechTube wants to pick videos for “techies, nerds, gadget lovers, and thinkers” on a daily basis, and, so far, the app offers an interesting mix of typical tech content (roundups, gadgets, what’s new in software updates, hands-on, etc.) as well as educational videos and interviews. Scrolling through videos is fun; I don’t have to think about browsing my YouTube subscriptions; and the app is a good showcase of tvOS and simple interactions with the Siri Remote.

I wouldn’t mind having an iOS version of TechTube for those times when I want to sit down with my iPad and take my brain off work for a few minutes. TechTube is available for free on the tvOS App Store.

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