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YouTube extends Shorts to TV screens

YouTube is extending its bite-sized video feature Shorts to the television screen across the world, the Google-owned video sharing platform announced on November 8 as it looks to counter growing competition from rivals such as Meta and TikTok across the world.

The company said this feature will be rolled out over the coming weeks to smart television models, game consoles, and streaming devices made in 2019 or later. Users will be able to play these short videos from the new Shorts shelf on the homepage of the YouTube app or on a creator’s channel page.

One can also interact with them by liking or disliking videos, reading the titles and descriptions of these videos, and subscribing to creators’ channels after watching their short videos.

“While this may seem like a natural next step, an incredible amount of thought and care has gone into bringing this vertical, mobile-first experience to the big screen,” said YouTube chief product officer Neal Mohan in a blogpost.

In the blogpost, YouTube executives also detailed the planning process and various design experiments they did while bringing this video format to the big screen, since Shorts is largely designed for mobile screens. “It was important that the Shorts experience on TV felt consistent with what the community sees on mobile and also natural on the bigger screen,” the company said.

Among the experiments were YouTube’s conventional video player, a “Jukebox” style player that will have multiple Shorts at the same time or a customised player that fills up the blank spaces on either side of the video. The company found that the Jukebox style strayed too far from the essence of Shorts that features one video at a time while the short videos didn’t look good in the conventional player.

YouTube stated that it also found an unusual behaviour with the viewing experience of short-form video on television: People wanted to manually move to the next short video rather than have the feed autoplay, unlike the typical leanback experience one witnesses with TV viewing.

Hence, the app now allows users to start or stop the video through the remote by clicking directly on the short video, or by using the play/pause buttons. The video will continue to play on loop until the user manually moves to the next video. One can use the up and down buttons on the remote to move to the next video or return to the previous video.

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