Google has today announced that it is widening the number of devices that YouTube Kids can be accessed from by making the service available via a number of smart TVs. Following on from the previous announcement back in February confirming that a smart TV app was in the works and en route. A move which will now allow parents to provide their children with access to YouTube Kids without having to involve a smartphone or other Android-related device.
For those new to YouTube Kids, this is a service set up by Google to offer parents a better way to ensure the content viewed by younger audiences is more age appropriate. The service allows parents to effectively control the content that their children have access to, without having to micro-manage content on a per-video basis. By the same token, also offering children an easy and issue-free way to find content that they are more likely to be interested in. Which according to today's announcement has proved to be successful, as Google notes that YouTube Kids now has 8 million weekly active viewers and racked up over 30 billion views, since its 2015 debut.
According to the announcement, the new smart TV version of YouTube Kids will be solely available on select LG, Samsung, and Sony TV sets. Likewise, and probably as to be expected, only in the counties that YouTube Kids is currently available in. Which Google currently counts as 26 countries in total, including the US and the UK. In terms of TV compatibility, Google has confirmed that YouTube Kids will now be available on LG TVs that were released between 2015 and 2017 and run webOS. While all Samsung smart TVs (and Blu-Ray players) released between 2013 and 2017 will also have access to the new app. In terms of Sony, TVs that were released between 2016 and 2017 will have access to YouTube Kids, although Google notes that Sony TVs may require the firmware to be updated before the app works as intended. As these are not Android-powered TV sets, the app will have to be downloaded from the respective manufacturer app stores, instead of the Google Play Store.
Interestingly, the announcement details that Sony TVs that are powered by Android TV (regardless of when they were released) are not part of this particular release wave and will not be able to make use of the Sony compatible YouTube Kids app for now. Although the announcement does also note that will change soon, as it seems Google and YouTube do have plans to release a dedicated YouTube Kids app for TV sets that are powered by Android TV soon.