Since the start of this year, Google has been testing a new YouTube app/experience for the regular Chromecast. The 3rd-gen Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra this week look like they got the new YouTube app.
The update is mostly available for Chromecast Ultra and Chromecast (3rd generation) that the company released in 2018. 9 to 5 Google that first reported on the update says that the experience is available to older Chromecast models. They said that it was not available for the first time.
Reportedly, Google started rolling out these features for the Chromecast YouTube app earlier this year to a smaller userbase. The newer interface appears to be more user-friendly than the previous versions, but non-Premium users have reported that they are encountering more ads with this update.
Previously, Chromecast offered a very basic viewing experience to its users when they would cast a video on their TVs. It featured a basic video player and a “Ready to Watch” splash screen.
Users are now reporting via 9 to 5 Google the appearance of a more comprehensive video player with the option to change resolution, close caption settings, and add videos to a playlist/queue.
The user interfaces also underwent an overhaul with the splash screen. It is now said that the YouTube home screen is going to replace this. The YouTube app on Chromecast now features a navigation rail on the left side with Search, Home, News, Music, Gaming, Movies & Shows, Subscriptions, and Library options.
One can navigate through this UI with a remote built into the YouTube app on their phone. There’s a D-Pad with a back button and voice search. If one taps on the Cast icon in the app’s top bar, one can access it. It also appears underneath the regular volume slider. Some physical TV remotes are also compatible with the new YouTube interface on Chromecast.
This UI rolled out to more users in July. As of this week, many users are encountering the new YouTube app on the Chromecast Ultra and 3rd-gen Chromecast released in 2018. Overall, it makes for better lean-back browsing, but those that do not have a Premium subscription are encountering more ads.
The main section of the layout now consists of video rows similar to what has been featured on the native YouTube app on Android TV or other smart televisions.