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Posts tagged with "youtube"

YouTube Announces ‘YouTube Red’ Subscription, Launching in the US First

Earlier today, YouTube introduced Red, a new subscription option to watch ad-free videos, save them offline, and listen to them in the background:

On October 28, we’re giving fans exactly what they want. Introducing YouTube Red – a new membership designed to provide you with the ultimate YouTube experience.

YouTube Red lets you enjoy videos across all of YouTube without ads, while also letting you save videos to watch offline on your phone or tablet and play videos in the background, all for $9.99 a month. Your membership extends across devices and anywhere you sign into YouTube, including our recently launched Gaming app and a brand new YouTube Music app we’re announcing today that will be available soon.

YouTube Red will launch in the U.S. first on October 28 (with limitations if you leave the U.S.), and at $9.99 it'll also include access to Google Play Music. Once it rolls out in more countries, there's no way around it – it is a strong offering, and YouTube is big and loved enough to convince a lot of people to pay for ad removal and offline consumption.

I'm curious to see how their original content initiative will play out (here's a full list of YouTube originals), not to mention the reaction of YouTubers to the altered deal (my prediction: every popular channel will end up accepting it).

Here's a thought: should YouTube finally enable Picture in Picture on iOS 9 for Red subscribers? With official background play, it would make sense (the main problem would be cards being unavailable via Picture in Picture, though).

See also: Ben Popper's story at The Verge, with feedback from YouTube creators.


YouTube Update Brings Redesigned App, No iOS 9 Multitasking Enhancements

Yesterday, Google released an update for its YouTube app for iOS which brings a redesign aimed at making it easier to access recommended videos and all videos from your subscriptions. In the new Home page, three icons at the top of the screen let you move through recommendations and a feed of all videos from channels you're subscribed to. Throughout the app, a new Material-inspired UI gives you a new layout for related videos and your profile page, which now offers more visible shortcuts for the watch later queue, playlists, and more.

Unfortunately, Google hasn't adopted iPad multitasking features in this update, which lacks support for Picture in Picture, Split View, and Slide Over. While I don't know Google's motivation for continuing to avoid iOS 9's changes to multitasking on iPad, I speculated that Google may not be a fan of the ability to keep watching a video outside of the YouTube app, and this appears to be the case. By using Picture in Picture and standard iOS video APIs, users would be able to keep playing a video in a floating popup that would make it impossible to tap on ads and annotations on iOS.

I would have been content with Split View to keep YouTube (and its ad-powered videos) next to other apps on iOS, and maybe that day will eventually come. For now, I'll have to use apps like YouPlayer and ProTube to watch YouTube videos with Picture in Picture on my iPad.


iOS 9 and YouTube Picture in Picture with YouPlayer

With the release of iOS 9 last week, I was hoping YouTube would be ready with an app update to support Picture in Picture. As I suspected, though, YouTube hasn't brought iOS 9's improved video playback experience to their official app yet, and I wouldn't be surprised to know they're not thrilled to enable a floating video player that would make ads and annotations non-tappable.

To overcome the lack of Picture in Picture for YouTube – a perfect use case for the feature, especially if you consider YouTube as a music player – I've started using YouPlayer, a free app by Homegrown Software that supports iOS 9 multitasking on iPad and, more importantly, Picture in Picture for all videos.

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YouTube Gaming Officially Launches

YouTube Gaming, the company's dedicated platform for all things videogames, has officially launched today. From the YouTube blog:

YouTube Gaming is your go-to destination for anything and everything gaming because it automatically pulls in all gaming-related videos and live streams from YouTube.

Viewers get personalized gaming recommendations based on the games and channels they collect. With over 25,000 game pages and even more gaming channels, it’s never been easier to connect with your gaming community.

We’ve also made it easier to create a live stream — check out the beta version of our new way to go live at today.

I took the app for a spin this evening on my iPad, and it's well done. There's a lot going on in the front page – live streams, reviews, channels, game pages, but the YouTube team has done a good job at figuring out ways to automatically categorize content. When watching a game review, for instance, a link to that game's page is available in the video description; tap it, and on the game page you can find more videos of different types such as Let's Plays, reviews, popular videos, past live streams, and more. It's a busy interface, but there's also a lot to watch and go through.

YouTube Gaming is going to be compared to Twitch a lot, and for good reason. The big advantage of YouTube Gaming is its direct integration with a vast archive of YouTube videos and video creators that produce new content just for YouTube every day (this includes trailers, reviews, how-tos, and lots more non-live stream content). The decision to create game pages with automatic categorization of videos seems like a smart one to me, and the entire app feels lively and fun (try to search for games, for example).

I wouldn't be surprised if this becomes effectively the default way of finding gaming content on YouTube in the future, with the main YouTube app as a fallback for everything else. You can download the iOS app (US and UK only for now) here.


YouTube and Full-Screen Playback of Vertical Videos

YouTube has added support for full-screen playback of vertical videos in their latest iOS app update. The new version follows a mobile web redesign and new Android features that will soon come to iOS as well.

While I understand that many people are deeply against vertical videos, the reality is that vertical video makes sense for some cases in the age of smartphones. The ergonomics of big phones make it easier to start shooting in portrait mode without having to rotate the device and wait for the interface to adjust. On the iPhone, for instance, there's no landscape Lock screen, and a camera shortcut is right there in the portrait Lock screen. Vertical video is ideal for framing people or faces with the front-facing camera – just see how people are watching videos in Snapchat, and you'll get the idea.

On iOS, FaceTime, selfies, and the majority of the iPhone UI are mostly portrait experiences, and that has changed how people approach media content created on mobile.

TVs and computer monitors are horizontally oriented and horizontal video is how movies and other videos are best experienced – I get that. But, like it or not, we live in an era where a lot of video content is also created by people with phones oriented vertically because it's faster, easier, or simply better to record that way in some scenarios.

For this reason, I welcome YouTube adding support for full-screen vertical video playback on their platform.

Apple Adds More Channels to Apple TV, YouTube Channel Gets a New Design

Click image for full resolution version

Click image for full resolution version

The Apple TV yesterday received four more channels, with UFC, The Scene, Fusion and Dailymotion joining the dozens of other channels available on the device. The above image is an update to our original article that visualizes the addition of Apple TV channels since the Apple TV 2 launched (the original black puck version).

The Apple TV also got an update to the long-standing YouTube channel, featuring a new design and new features. The highlights of this update includes predictive search, personalized recommendations and the ability to subscribe to channels. It probably wouldn't be considered a 'feature', but the updated YouTube channel now also supports advertisements before videos. You can watch a brief promotional video from Google that talks about the update below.

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Google Updates YouTube for iOS with New Music Section

Following the announcement of YouTube Music Key earlier today, Google updated its official YouTube app for iOS with a new Music tab in preparation for the service's beta rollout next week.

The new tab, available at the top of the main interface, doesn't bring Music Key functionalities, but instead showcases a selection of music based on popularity and your watching history on YouTube. In this section, YouTube is offering mixes (non-stop playlists based on songs or artists, like radio stations), recommended videos, a history section for music videos you've played before, plus trending and popular videos.

The selections in the new Music area of YouTube are solid when it comes to personal history and recommendations, but they feel a little impersonal as they lack any sort of editorial pick or curated content. The Music tab is very much user-centric at this point: music videos are either recommended based on your history and likes on YouTube or they're already part of your subscriptions and playlists. The execution is nice thanks to large previews, a clean interface, and the ability to quickly start playing a mix or a playlist, but, right now, YouTube's Music tab is obviously not meant to replace the home page of services like Beats Music or Spotify.

You can get the updated YouTube app with the new Music section on the App Store.

Google Announces YouTube Music Key

Widely rumored for the past several months, Google today announced YouTube Music Key, a premium service that, starting at $7.99/month, will offer ad-free videos, the ability to keep listening to videos as music in the background, offline downloads, and access to Google Play Music (the new name for Google Play Music All Access).

From the YouTube blog:

Thanks to your music videos, remixes, covers, and more, you’ve made YouTube the biggest music service on the planet. To turn YouTube into your perfect music service, we’re launching YouTube Music Key as a beta with our biggest music fans first, and then we’ll bring YouTube Music Key to the whole world together. So, if you see an invite in your app or email, try it out for six months for free.

YouTube Music Key follows a plan to revamp YouTube's entire music strategy with a new dedicated section:

Starting today, you’ll see a new home just for music on your YouTube app for Android, iOS and on that shows your favorite music videos, recommended music playlists based on what you’re into and playlists of trending music across YouTube. You can find a playlist to perfectly fit your mood, whether that’s a morning motivators playlist or Boyce Avenue YouTube Mix. Check out the newest songs from channels you subscribe to, like FKA twigs or Childish Gambino. Or quickly find the songs you’ve played over and over and over again.

The YouTube Music Key beta will start rolling out next week, and it appears that current Google Music All Access subscribers will get access to it immediately.

I'm interested in Google's plans with YouTube because the service has what other music streaming services have always lacked: a huge catalogue of videos from artists that go beyond albums and singles. As someone who regularly watches concert videos and demo recordings on YouTube, I'm curious to see how an ad-free experience with web and iOS access could improve content that I can't get anywhere else.


Tuner for iPhone Turns YouTube Into A Music Player



Every time I go out with friends and we start talking about music, there's always that one guy who wants to play a song and he does so…using YouTube. In spite of the relatively low barrier to entry for services like Spotify and Rdio (both available in Italy with free plans), the convenience of using YouTube as an audio source is indisputable (on top of that, add the fact that most people have a high tolerance for YouTube ads – or ads in general). Personally, I prefer a dedicated music streaming service or my iTunes Match library, but I do rely on YouTube for the occasional live performance or unreleased demo tape that I can't obtain legally anywhere else.

Tuner is a music player for YouTube videos: with a simple search feature, it uses YouTube as an audio source, turning videos into songs you can listen to on your iPhone.

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