The Purpose Behind YouTube TV’s New ‘Multiview’ Feature

Photo by Alexander Shatov via Unsplash

The Purpose Behind YouTube TV’s New ‘Multiview’ Feature 

By Movieguide® Contributor 


YouTube TV is rolling out a “multiview” feature that will allow users to view as many as four linear streams simultaneously. 

“Just in time for March Madness,” the new feature will allow viewers “to switch audio and captions between streams, and jump in and out of a fullscreen view of a game,” YouTube’s blog post explained. 

The service will roll out gradually to the 5-million-plus subscriber base, becoming completely available over the next several months. With March Madness serving as a trial run, the company plans to have worked out all the kinks by the time NFL Sunday Ticket hits the platform later this year. 

While multiview features have been available through cable TV for years, YouTube’s version was only made possible recently due to recent advancements in technology. German Cheung, the engineering lead for YouTube TV’s core experience team, explained that a typical multiview experience “requires a high-end user device to process and playback multiple streams at once.”

YouTube moved all of the processing onto its own servers, cutting out the stress on the user’s device. 

“This allows all subscribers to use the feature, regardless of their home equipment, because when it’s streamed to them, their device sees only one live feed, instead of two or four,” Cheung explained. 

This technology was really just a rework of a feature already accessible on YouTube Live, which allows streamers to go live together, combining two streams into one feed. Rather than creating something from the ground up, the team could use what YouTube Live had already created and rework it for TV, allowing the team to bring it to market much faster. 

While the new feature will be relatively bare bones in its early access phase, the team plans to refine and add more functionality to multiview in the future. 

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