First Look: YouTube TV Shows and Movie Channels


youtube tv shows screenshot

In a move that’s obviously a shot across the bow of Hulu, YouTube has announced that visitors can now view “thousands of television episodes and hundreds of movies” instantly through the site from partners like Crackle, CBS, MGM, Lionsgate, and Starz. Visitors can access the TV show and movie content via the site’s newly added Shows menu tab. In addition, YouTube members can subscribe to partner channels to be notified of any newly added content.

Impressions:

Content Quality – Having navigated through the current library of titles available. The vast majority of the content is fairly ancient. In fact, it’s similar to what TV Land on Cable offers viewers with series like Alf, Bewitched, Charlie’s Angels, I Dream of Jeannie, etc. The same goes for the movies. Most feature films are decades old or they’re obscure titles that no one has ever heard of.

Content Navigation – On the plus side, the page layout for TV Shows and Movies is well laid out and easy to navigate. YouTube displays content in lists arranged by alphabetical order, most recent (default with episode/movie spotlight), most popular, or by partner (aka Studio).

youtube movie screenshot

Content Presentation – Overall it’s pretty good. YouTube has added a turn-down-the-lights button (like Hulu) and a default large, wide-screen player view that can be toggled to the standard smaller view if you prefer. As for video quality… video on the large player streamed very well. In fact, it was was smoother and less processor intensive than my usual experience at Hulu. Suggestion to the YouTube Team: allow the player controls to auto-hide so we don’t have to see the grey bar at the bottom during the whole show.

In-Stream Advertising – I found that TV shows had 5 in-stream ads while full-length films had 9 (seems a bit much to me). Interestingly, YouTube has added another revenue generating option by displaying affiliate buttons on some content (located just above Statistics & Data) so one can purchase the TV show or movie they’re watching directly from iTunes or Amazon.

Final Thoughts:

YouTube’s new TV Shows and Movies channels are a welcome addition that will hopefully expand to more recent titles as time goes on. Personally, I’m looking forward to gaining access to the collection via network-enabled TVs coming out in the near future, as well as, on set-tops like the NETGEAR EVA9150 Digital Entertainer Elite.




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