YouTube has completely overhauled its Apple TV app with an all-new version. The update doesn’t exactly improve the viewing experience on Apple TV however…
Developers have been able to make custom apps for Apple TV since the introduction of tvOS a few years ago, but Google did not initially take advantage of this until now.
Like a lot of other video apps from major services, YouTube hasn’t exactly made an app tailored to Apple TV however. Instead, the new version is virtually a port of the app experience on other platforms including clients built in to smart TVs.
YouTube does feel more app-like with the new version and less like the old version ported from the more restricted client made for older Apple TVs.
But YouTube doesn’t take advantage of Top Shelf which serves up video recommendations when the app is on the top row, and there’s still the whole 4K content fight happening between Google and Apple over video formats.
The updated app is a bit misleading in that regard. YouTube will badge UHD videos with a 4K tag on Apple TV 4K, but video playback is still restricted to 1080p according to the video inspector. Video playback does support frame rate switching between 24, 30, and 60 fps however, but the lack of 4K video playback on Apple TV 4K is frustrating.
The new version of YouTube for tvOS is available now. There’s no way to force an app update on tvOS, but uninstalling and reinstalling YouTube will do the trick (and change the icon).
The update follows nearly a week after the launch of YouTube TV on tvOS — Google’s $35/month streaming TV service.
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