(Updated to reflect comment from YouTube)
For her most recent birthday, I bought my girlfriend a Blu-ray player. Of course the picture is better and all that, but what she really loves about it is that she can now stream Netflix movies directly onto her television, rather than having to watch them on a computer screen. It's especially nice for when there are multiple people over, since having more than one person hovering over a tiny computer screen is less than ideal, to say the least.
The fact that watching videos on the Internet is an inherently social experience, and one that is hard to make social if the screen is too small, has not been lost on YouTube. The company has made it its mission the last few years to make putting its videos onto televisions an easier and smoother experience for all users.
The company took another step toward making YouTube on TV a better experience for everyone on Thursday, when it announced that it will be bringing its mobile/TV pairing feature to a new lineup of television brands.
The way mobile/TV pairing, also known as the "send to TV" feature, works is that it essentially turns any Android mobile device into a remote control for YouTube. All a person has to do is start playing a video on the Android app, then hit the send to TV icon to have it start playing on a nearby television that is connected to the same WiFi network. The app can then be used to control the video. Users can also search for other videos, and create a queue of them, while the current video is playing. YouTube also makes the experience more social by allowing multiple devices to connect, so friends can help build the queue.
The feature was originally launched in in November, and it was initially only available for pairing between Android Devices and Google TV. The feature will debut on devices from Bang & Olufsen, LG, Panasonic and Sony, among others, at the Consumer Electronics Show next week. Other device brands, including Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Toshiba, Vizio, Western Digital and others, will get the feature at some point over the next year.
"The rollout will vary by company and when each launches their TVs/devices," a YouTube spokesperson told VatorNews .
The feature is only available on Android smartphones and tablets for now, but the YouTube spokesperson that the company is "looking to bring this to more platforms in the future."
A big part of the idea behind turning a mobile device into a remote is that it is much more efficient to search for videos on a mobile device, where a person can easily type in what they want to view, than having to scroll through a long list on their television.
On top making the experience better for its users, expanding this feature will also increase the number of people who download, and spend time, on the YouTube app. Considering that cumulative app revenue was projected to pass $30 billion last year, almost doubling the amount brought in only a year before, this feature may turn out to be a boon for YouTube's finances as well.
These new devices will also have the updated YouTube on TV interface, which you can see here.
YouTube was unavailable for comment.
YouTube supplied the following video to make it clear how the feature works: