YouTube TV has started rolling out a new multi-view feature that allows streamers to watch a handful of news and sports channels from a single screen experience.
The feature, which was first announced last Wednesday, is launching in phases on supported streaming TV devices, including Android TV (Google TV), Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV.
The multi-view feature curates a handful of pre-selected channels that are available to watch from four designated panels — news, sports, business news and weather. For now, users won’t be able to modify the channels that appear in multi-view, but can select the audio track they want to listen to from the channels that are present.
The Desk got a first look at the new multi-view feature on YouTube TV and can confirm the following channels are supported:
- ESPN 2
- Fox Sports 1 (FS1)
- NBC Golf Channel
- BBC News
- Fox News Channel
- Fox Business Network
- Fox Weather
- The Weather Channel
The Business News and Weather multi-view screens each feature two streaming channels, presented side-by-side, with considerable black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. Unlike streaming service Fubo TV, which allows users to resize multi-view windows on Apple TV devices, there is currently no way to make one box bigger than the other when watching two channels on a multi-view screen.
The Sports and News multi-view screens each feature four streaming channels and, again, there’s no way to reorganize or re-size the windows.
On all four multi-view screens, the audio feed of one channel plays at a time; a window outlined with a white border indicates which channel’s audio is playing at any given time. Using the direction pad on a remote control, users can switch the audio feed by navigating up, down or to the side; clicking into the window fills the entire screen.
At the moment, multi-view is only accessible from the “Home” screen of YouTube TV, where it is located under the top-most navigation window called “Top Picks for You.” If a device supports multi-view, a ribbon appears on the home screen that says “Watch in multi-view.”
YouTube TV began rolling out the multi-view feature after successfully testing it during the NCAA March Madness tournament earlier this year. As is the case with the current batch of multi-view screens, the earlier test featured a pre-selected curation of feeds from TBS, TNT, Tru TV and local CBS broadcast stations.
Officials at YouTube TV say the new multi-view feature will be constantly updated ahead of the service’s rollout of the NFL Sunday Ticket, which is expected to offer a similar multi-view perk when it becomes available in September.