Google seems to be in the process of testing a new interface for YouTube on Android TV. While it remains to be seen how widespread the testing is, there are a number of Android TV device owners who have noted the change on social media. Although, some of those same users have reported the change as going live, and then within a few days the interface has reverted back to the older/existing one. So individual access to the in-testing design will likely vary. As is typically the case with these interface variations, there is no guarantee this one will roll out to all users.
In terms of the changes, it would seem the main purpose of the new design is to declutter the screen a little when a video is playing. As the new interface removes all of the suggested videos (shown at the bottom of the screen during playback - as shown above), as well as the removal of the fast forward and rewind icons - the function is still there, just the on-screen icons are not. Likewise, the ‘More Options” link has been removed in favor of just the icon, with the addition of a closed captioning icon for easier access to subtitles.
Another interesting change is the use of a picture-in-picture (PiP)-like feature. As when a viewer presses back on the remote, the interface shows a number of suggested titles and the video minimizes and continues to play in the top-left corner of the screen. Those on the current interface will be aware that pressing back on the remote usually ends playback, which means the new Android TV design is now more in line with what is experienced with the mobile YouTube app. There are some other cosmetic changes as well, such as the title of the video now being more prominently displayed in the center of the screen (close to the playback bar), and the ‘playing next’ video is also more prominently displayed in the bottom-right corner with the option for viewers to skip to that video at any time during playback. Once the video has come to an end, those who have autoplay switched on will have a few seconds (and new blue indicator detailing how long) before that next video automatically starts.