YouTube TV rolls out multiview: watch up to 4 NCAA games at once

If you love college basketball and can process more than one game at a time, you’re going to go bananas for YouTube TV‘s new multiview feature, which will be rolling out on a limited, early access basis starting March 14.  With multiview, you’ll be able to pick up to four channels and see them all simultaneously, with the ability to easily flip the active audio from one to another. The new feature is compatible with any TV-based YouTube TV installations (streaming media players, smart TVs, and game consoles), but it doesn’t yet work on mobile devices or computers.

An example of YouTube TV's multiview feature.

Initially, multiview will only be available to select YouTube TV users, who will be chosen at random. But Google says the goal is to include every subscriber by the time NFL football season starts in the fall. Another limitation, at least for now, is that YouTube TV will preselect the multiview channels you can choose. At launch, only channels that carry NCAA tournament games will be included in that preselected list.

How to use YouTube TV multiview

If you’re one of the lucky, randomly chosen users, you’ll see an option to watch up to four preselected, different streams at once in your “Top Picks for You” section. After selecting multiview, you can switch audio and captions between streams, and jump in and out of a full-screen view of a game.

It’s all about sports

At the moment, YouTube TV sees multiview as an enhancement of the sports viewing experience, so only sports content will be eligible. YouTube TV has had some big sports wins in 2022, including 4K coverage of the Soccer World Cup, and that trend will continue in 2023 thanks to its acquisition of the NFL Sunday Ticket games. However, YouTube TV recently lost access to MLB Network and the add-on, which reduces the amount of sports content available for multiview in 2023.

The present sports focus aside, the service remains open to the idea that its subscribers may want to pick from other kinds of content. “We are always exploring different ways for members to use our features across the variety of content YouTube TV has to offer,” a spokesperson told Digitals Trend via email. “We don’t currently have a timeline to share for when multiview customization will be available.”

What sets YouTube TV’s multiview feature apart from multiview on other platforms like Samsung’s QLED TVs or FuboTV, is that all of the computing power needed to display four separate feeds at once lives in the cloud, on the service’s servers. Typically, multiview is a very computational-heavy task, which is why FuboTV only offers it on the Apple TV 4K.

Since YouTube TV’s multiview is effectively presented as a single stream, it can run on much less powerful hardware. Google credits this new technology to YouTube itself. It had been previously developed to let YouTube creators go live together.

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