YouTube recreates TV experience with ‘Leanback’ feature


YouTube has launched Leanback, a new service aimed at the living room offering full screen, HD videos optimised for big screen TV viewing. Still in public beta, Leanback automatically starts playing content feeds based on a user’s preferences, and accesses social networking for users plugged in via Facebook.

Instead of having to use a mouse, users can skip content and navigate the entire interface using four arrow keys and the enter key. Users will need a YouTube account to watch Leanback, with the video "feed" is based on videos that the user has liked, unliked and added to their favourites. Unlike the original YouTube site, there are no visible comments, with the service operating more like a YouTube TV channel.


Users can also link their YouTube account to Facebook to see what their friends are watching, as well as watching any movies they’ve rented via YouTube.

They can also view the most popular videos in channels like sports, news, music and entertainment, and even create a channel with a search query.

In a company blog, Kuan Yong, senior product manager at Youtube, explained how the service works.

"Just as its name implies, YouTube Leanback is all about letting you sit back, relax and be entertained. Videos tailored to your interests play as soon as you visit the site and they play in full screen and high definition, continuously," he wrote.

"There's no need to click, search, or browse, unless you want to, of course. Watching YouTube becomes as easy as watching TV."

Leanback will be part of Google TV, which is due to launch this autumn and is currently in beta.

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