Google has launched a new player for watching YouTube Shorts on TV

Taking advantage of having its own Smart TV platform as well as the YouTube service, Google has only minor tweaks to make to bring YouTube Shorts clips to Android Smart TVs.

Part of an effort to compete with TikTok, Google recently announced bringing the YouTube Shorts platform to the screen of Smart TV-equipped TVs. Continuing in the same vein Google is now announcing a revised version of the video player, tailored for a more enjoyable viewing experience.

Like TikTok posts, videos shared on YouTube Shorts are viewed almost exclusively on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets), Google is working to remove this good limitation by developing a dedicated video player for Smart TV. The news emerged at an investor presentation this summer, with Google hinting that it is ready to expand YouTube Shorts coverage to devices that rival services can’t easily cover.

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Theoretically, ByteDance could do the same thing with the TikTok app. Practically speaking, the China-based company doesn’t have nearly as much of an argument to motivate Smart TV manufacturers to pre-install the app out of the box. Instead, the fact that the app is signed by the same company that develops the Android platform that most TV manufacturers already rely on makes the “convincing” part much easier.

Intended for watching YouTube Shorts clips on the much larger TV screen, the new version of the YouTube Shorts player introduces such amenities as ambient lighting and easier-to-use navigation controls. Ambient lighting fills in the black space left around clips filmed with the phone in portrait orientation, using colour shades derived from the video content.

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Much less necessary for YouTube Shorts clips the scroll bar is removed along with the histogram normally used for quick jumps to more interesting sequences. Instead, clips only a few seconds long are played in full and unobstructed view, with only the author’s name and the title of the clip appearing on the screen, along with like and dislike buttons.

While TikTok has its own smart TV app, YouTube has an added advantage in that the app comes pre-installed on all smart TVs, regardless of the platform chosen by the TV manufacturer.

Google says the new version of the YouTube Shorts player will be coming to most smart TVs manufactured from 2019 onwards in the coming weeks.

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