If you find yourself frustrated trying to watch YouTube videos on your cell phone’s tiny screen, you are not alone. Do you love YouTube’s 360-degree videos? So do we! Which is why the news coming out of Google’s I/O 2017 Developers conference is so exciting—YouTube 360-degree videos are coming to television screens in living rooms everywhere.
Until now, a 360-degree YouTube video could only be viewed on a mobile device on a web browser. Bringing these videos to the living room isn’t “…just about the size of the screen” said YouTube product manager Sara Ali before demoing a 360 coachella video on the conference, “it’s about giving you an experience that [traditional] TV just can’t match.”
The upgrade is expected to first arrive on Android TV devices (like Sony TV’s and Nvidia Shield), but will then come to other platforms like Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s Playstation 4 not long after. YouTube also plans to bring the feature to 4K Samsung and LG television as well. While specific dates were not given, users can expect to see the service supported on each of these devices by the end of the year.
Once users have access to the service they can control the video either with a video game controller or with the more traditional arrow keys on a television remote. Users who have demoed the experience have said that it’s a smooth experience regardless of which method you use to control the rotation of the video.
Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, who made the announcement at the conference, also made it clear that live 360-degree video will be introduced to the living room as well in the near future.
While this may not seem like the most exciting news now, it does open doors for YouTube as they continue to try to find a way onto living room screens. At the very least, this will be a very entertaining feature when you have company over.