YouTube Shorts are coming to smart TVs

The company has told partners it wants to bring support for YouTube shorts to YouTube’s app for Android TV and Google TV.

YouTube short on a TV

YouTube Shorts are making their way to a larger screen.

Image: Courtesy of Google

YouTube wants people to watch more vertical videos on their TVs: The Google-owned video service is getting ready to support YouTube Shorts, its take on TikTok videos, within its smart TV app, Protocol has learned.

YouTube will also gain better support for the company’s music service on smart TVs, and its paid TV service is looking to launch split-screen viewing to its subscribers. A representative for YouTube declined to comment.

YouTube employees shared these plans at an internal partner event with hardware manufacturers last month. The event was dedicated to Google’s own Android TV and Google TV platforms, but YouTube generally aims to keep its experience on par across smart TV platforms, making it likely that these features will eventually launch on TVs manufactured by companies like Samsung and LG as well.

A massive advantage over TikTok

YouTube Shorts has been a big hit on mobile, where the brief vertical videos reached 30 billion daily views earlier this year. However, there’s little to no support for the feature on larger screens. YouTube’s mobile app doesn’t let people cast Shorts to the TV, and the service’s TV app doesn’t surface the clips to viewers.

That’s about to change with an update that will roll out in the coming months. A mock-up slide presented to the audience of Google’s partner event, which was leaked to Protocol, showed a vertical video at the center of the screen, with the video’s title, the name of the song used in the clip and quick access to up-and-down thumbs off to the side. There was no full-screen scroll bar, suggesting that the implementation isn’t using the interface of the normal YouTube video player.

YouTube isn’t the first service to bring short-form vertical videos to the TV screen. TikTok has been experimenting with smart TV interfaces for some time, and the app launched on smart TVs made by LG and Samsung as well as TVs and streaming devices running both Amazon’s and Google’s platforms in November.

However, YouTube has a massive advantage over TikTok on TVs. YouTube’s app is installed on virtually every smart TV these days, while people have to actively seek out TikTok’s app — something few people may feel inclined to do, due to the assumption that TikTok is a mobile-only service.

TikTok hasn’t said how much traction it has gotten on TVs, but its Android TV app has been downloaded fewer than 5 million times, according publicly available Google Play data.

YouTube TV is getting Mosaic Mode

In addition to bringing vertical videos to the living room, YouTube has also planned a number of other features for its TV app. The service’s Android TV and Google TV apps are supposed to get stability and performance improvements, and YouTube Music will gain additional features on smart TVs as well. These will include the ability to browse playlists and albums, add them to one’s library directly from the TV screen and more.

Finally, YouTube is also looking to update its YouTube TV service with a few new features. Chief among them: YouTube TV will gain something called Mosaic Mode, which will allow subscribers to watch up to four live feeds at the same time by dividing the TV screen into quadrants.

Google regularly briefs its partners about upcoming changes to its smart TV platforms and apps before they are officially announced to the public. At the same event, company representatives also previewed plans to integrate fitness trackers with Google TV and allow owners of Nest Audio devices to use them as wireless TV speakers.

A 'Soho house for techies': VCs place a bet on community

Contrary is the latest venture firm to experiment with building community spaces instead of offices.

Contrary NYC is meant to re-create being part of a members-only club where engineers and entrepreneurs can hang out together, have a space to work, and host events for people in tech.

Photo: Courtesy of Contrary

In the pre-pandemic times, Contrary’s network of venture scouts, founders, and top technologists reflected the magnetic pull Silicon Valley had on the tech industry. About 80% were based in the Bay Area, with a smattering living elsewhere. Today, when Contrary asked where people in its network were living, the split had changed with 40% in the Bay Area and another 40% living in or planning to move to New York.

It’s totally bifurcated now, said Contrary’s founder Eric Tarczynski.

Keep Reading Show less
Biz Carson

Biz Carson ( @bizcarson) is a San Francisco-based reporter at Protocol, covering Silicon Valley with a focus on startups and venture capital. Previously, she reported for Forbes and was co-editor of Forbes Next Billion-Dollar Startups list. Before that, she worked for Business Insider, Gigaom, and Wired and started her career as a newspaper designer for Gannett.

Sponsored Content

Great products are built on strong patents

Experts say robust intellectual property protection is essential to ensure the long-term R&D required to innovate and maintain America's technology leadership.

Every great tech product that you rely on each day, from the smartphone in your pocket to your music streaming service and navigational system in the car, shares one important thing: part of its innovative design is protected by intellectual property (IP) laws.

From 5G to artificial intelligence, IP protection offers a powerful incentive for researchers to create ground-breaking products, and governmental leaders say its protection is an essential part of maintaining US technology leadership. To quote Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo: "intellectual property protection is vital for American innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Keep Reading Show less
James Daly
James Daly has a deep knowledge of creating brand voice identity, including understanding various audiences and targeting messaging accordingly. He enjoys commissioning, editing, writing, and business development, particularly in launching new ventures and building passionate audiences. Daly has led teams large and small to multiple awards and quantifiable success through a strategy built on teamwork, passion, fact-checking, intelligence, analytics, and audience growth while meeting budget goals and production deadlines in fast-paced environments. Daly is the Editorial Director of 2030 Media and a contributor at Wired.

Binance CEO wrestles with the 'Chinese company' label

Changpeng "CZ" Zhao, who leads crypto’s largest marketplace, is pushing back on attempts to link Binance to Beijing.

Despite Binance having to abandon its country of origin shortly after its founding, critics have portrayed the exchange as a tool of the Chinese government.

Photo: Akio Kon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In crypto, he is known simply as CZ, head of one of the industry’s most dominant players.

It took only five years for Binance CEO and co-founder Changpeng Zhao to build his company, which launched in 2017, into the world’s biggest crypto exchange, with 90 million customers and roughly $76 billion in daily trading volume, outpacing the U.S. crypto powerhouse Coinbase.

Keep Reading Show less
Benjamin Pimentel

Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers crypto and fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at bpimentel@protocol.com or via Google Voice at (925) 307-9342.


How I decided to leave the US and pursue a tech career in Europe

Melissa Di Donato moved to Europe to broaden her technology experience with a different market perspective. She planned to stay two years. Seventeen years later, she remains in London as CEO of Suse.

“It was a hard go for me in the beginning. I was entering inside of a company that had been very traditional in a sense.”

Photo: Suse

Click banner image for more How I decided seriesA native New Yorker, Melissa Di Donato made a life-changing decision back in 2005 when she packed up for Europe to further her career in technology. Then with IBM, she made London her new home base.

Today, Di Donato is CEO of Germany’s Suse, now a 30-year-old, open-source enterprise software company that specializes in Linux operating systems, container management, storage, and edge computing. As the company’s first female leader, she has led Suse through the coronavirus pandemic, a 2021 IPO on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and the acquisitions of Kubernetes management startup Rancher Labs and container security company NeuVector.

Keep Reading Show less
Donna Goodison

Donna Goodison (@dgoodison) is Protocol's senior reporter focusing on enterprise infrastructure technology, from the 'Big 3' cloud computing providers to data centers. She previously covered the public cloud at CRN after 15 years as a business reporter for the Boston Herald. Based in Massachusetts, she also has worked as a Boston Globe freelancer, business reporter at the Boston Business Journal and real estate reporter at Banker & Tradesman after toiling at weekly newspapers.


UiPath had a rocky few years. Rob Enslin wants to turn it around.

Protocol caught up with Enslin, named earlier this year as UiPath’s co-CEO, to discuss why he left Google Cloud, the untapped potential of robotic-process automation, and how he plans to lead alongside founder Daniel Dines.

Rob Enslin, UiPath's co-CEO, chats with Protocol about the company's future.

Photo: UiPath

UiPath has had a shaky history.

The company, which helps companies automate business processes, went public in 2021 at a valuation of more than $30 billion, but now the company’s market capitalization is only around $7 billion. To add insult to injury, UiPath laid off 5% of its staff in June and then lowered its full-year guidance for fiscal year 2023 just months later, tanking its stock by 15%.

Keep Reading Show less
Aisha Counts

Aisha Counts (@aishacounts) is a reporter at Protocol covering enterprise software. Formerly, she was a management consultant for EY. She's based in Los Angeles and can be reached at acounts@protocol.com.

Latest Stories