The YouTube for Android TV app has received an update this week which brings with it a number of small but useful changes. The update is now listed as live on the Google Play Store and therefore should be making its way out to devices soon, if it has not arrived already.
The first change detailed on the Play Store listing is an easier ability to resume where the viewer left off after switching between apps. This essentially means if a user switches from watching a YouTube video to another app then switches back again, the video will automatically resume playback from where it left off. This also seems to be the case even if the video was paused before switching - once returning to the YouTube app, it does not reload the previous video in a paused mode but instead automatically commences playback. The next main change is an increase in Google Assistant support. Google Assistant is now available on a number of Android TV units and with this latest update the YouTube app now supports specific Google Assistant-related commands. Google has not provided a full list of these commands and instead uses ‘skipping ahead by 30 seconds’ as an example of what commands can now be given. In addition, “personalized channels” are being added to the YouTube app on Android TV devices running Android 8.0 (Oreo). This is specific to Oreo as it relates to the new Oreo interface and how a user can select which “channels” from an app they would like to see prominently displayed on the home screen. Therefore, following the update, it seems a more “personalized” channel will become available. On a more mundane note, the app update is also adding improvements which should result in less stuttering and smoother playback.
In spite of YouTube being one of the core and principle apps on Android TV, its interface has come under fire in recent months due to its design and implementation, following what was a fairly significant redesign. Since then, however, it has received regular and routing updates that have improved various features in subtle ways. This latest update being the most recent example.