Google has started rolling out a better integration between the YouTube mobile apps and the YouTube apps on Smart TVs. With the new second-screen experience, the YouTube app on your phone will now display a prompt when you’re watching a YouTube video on your TV, allowing you to interact with the video more easily.
While it’s already possible to link the YouTube apps for iOS and Android to your TV to control video playback, the mobile apps will now suggest you to do so. You’ll need to have your phone and TV to be signed in to the same YouTube account to have the prompt automatically show up on your phone.
YouTube built this new experience after noticing that many YouTube users who were watching videos on their TV were often engaging with the same video on their phone to do things that aren’t available or easy to do on the big screen (subscribing, liking, commenting, etc). “With these insights in mind, we stopped thinking about how to fit all these features into the big screen, and instead pivoted to think about how the phone can be more deeply connected to the TV experience overall,” explained Brynn Evans, Head of Design for YouTube on TV.
When the YouTube mobile app is connected to your TV, you can control video playback right from your phone, but also check video descriptions, leave comments, share the video you’re watching with friends, and more. “There’s much more to come as we think about the future of interactivity in the living room,” Evans said.
YouTube now has a community of 2 billion viewers, who were watching over 700 million hours of videos on TV daily as of January 2022. The platform has become a true juggernaut, and it recently made 4,000 episodes of TV shows free to watch in the US.