The YouTube application for Android TV has not seen many updates since the web container was changed as an interface. However, each new version usually contributes something of certain importance. The latest version comes with a couple of notable improvements, including performance improvements, automatic resume after changing applications and voice commands through the Google Assistant. For some people running Android Oreo, new "custom channels" may also appear on the home screen.
Official change register:
- Easier to resume where you left off when you change applications
- Smoother video play and fixes to reduce stutter
- Introduced the ability to search using the Google Assistant (eg, "jump 30 seconds")
- Custom channels added to the Oreo Android start screen
Voice commands through the Google Assistant
YouTube started experimenting with voice commands at least from 2015, and over time we have seen those commands live on the phones. Now that Google Assistant is standard on many Android TV units, the voice commands to control playback are a pretty obvious feature.
The latest update of the YouTube application for Android TV has added integration with Assistant to enable several different commands to play and find media. You can perform basic actions such as pause and resume video, jump forward or backward (in the photo above), and so on.
You can also use voice commands for familiar functions, such as searching for videos or navigating certain screens within the application as your library.
Resume after changing applications
The official change registry describes a new feature that makes it easier to resume videos after changing applications, but that description does not really explain what to expect. In short, if you left YouTube while playing a video, the video will resume automatically when you return to the application. This can happen after changing the application or simply by pressing the start button and then restarting YouTube. It seems an improvement after the previous versions blindly closed the video and, often, you would have to look it up in your history or subscriptions so that it will play again. However, it could be something you are careful about if you do not want the video to resume.
The YouTubes changelog also mentions custom channels, but do not expect to see them running simply by updating to the latest version. These channels are remotely enabled by YouTube, and are only available for some accounts at this time. This would look a lot like an A / B test if it did not appear in the change log. For many of us, there are only two channels: Recommended and Trend. However, the previous shots also include a third channel called Subscriptions. Hopefully, there will be more new channels soon.
The APK is signed by Google and updates your existing application. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Instead of waiting for Google to download this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it like any other APK.