If you use the YouTube app on your large screen television, you may have noticed a couple of changes in recent days: a new sound and animation that displays as the programme starts up, and the option to display comments alongside what you’re watching.
The sound is official, and YouTube has gone into extensive detail about it in a blog post . YouTube needed something “vibrant, engaging, and immediately recognisable,” so they recruited the aid of sonic branding studio Antfood to get the audio snippet exactly right.
The three-second clip, according to YouTube, transitions from “rich, pitch-bending tones that signify YouTube’s irresistible gravitational pull” to a major 7th chord that “represents the way YouTube allows you to explore the things you really love” – and the sound and animation will apparently appear in more YouTube apps over time.
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The other upgrade to the YouTube app for TVs isn’t official, but it was found on Reddit and allows you to browse comments. We’ve also seen the feature appear in YouTube on an Android TV here at TechRadar.
While watching videos, you can choose to display comments in a sidebar on the right. It may be useful for videos with a lot of debate below the line that you want to watch, but you’ll still need to open the mobile app to respond to comments or post your own.
YouTube has not publicly stated that the comments function is in testing, but it is obviously visible for some users. It remains to be seen whether or not it will eventually be available to everyone who uses YouTube on a TV.
Analysis: keeping eyeballs on YouTube
The majority of updates to YouTube and similar apps are designed to keep more eyes on the app for longer periods of time, which promotes engagement and advertising revenue. These most recent upgrades may not appear to be particularly big, yet they could still make a significant effect.
The Netflix start-up sound and animation is so well-known that it is titled after the annual Netflix content presentation. YouTube will be hoping that its own beginning clip becomes as well-known to viewers as its static logo.
Adding comments will have a greater impact on the actual viewing experience, as this is where a lot of key conversation and debate about a video takes place.
It’s worth noting that, based on our testing, the comments may be toggled on and off – you don’t have to read them all if you don’t want to. We’ll have to wait and see what YouTube has to say about this changeover when the time comes.