YouTube TV adds multiview streaming in time for March Madness

You'll be limited to sports during the early access phase.


YouTube TV is now much more useful if you're a sports fan. The service is rolling out an early access multiview feature that shows up to four sports streams at once. Visit the "Top Picks For You" section and you can pick from pre-chosen multiview groups, such as NCAA March Madness games. You can jump to a full-screen view for each match, and switch the audio and captioning to the stream that captures your attention.

Importantly, the technology isn't limited to specific platforms or devices. It supports all smart TVs and living room media players that can run YouTube TV in the first place. You won't need a high-powered device like you do with some services. The trick, as the company's German Cheung explains, is to move the processing to YouTube's servers — your hardware only has to handle one feed regardless of how many streams you're watching. The tech is borrowed from YouTube's co-streaming feature.

If you're part of the early access phase, you'll see both an alert and an email. YouTube TV expects to deploy multiview streaming for all subscribers in the "coming months." The company tells Engadget it plans to expand functionality over time, including the option to customize the stream selection.

The timing is convenient. March Madness is just getting started, and the MLB season start is weeks away. Multiview could make YouTube more compelling if you're deciding on a TV provider (particularly an internet-only service) and are determined to follow as many games as possible. The broad support may also be alluring if competing services don't offer this level of multi-stream support on your living room equipment of choice. The official March Madness Live app, for instance, only supports four-way streaming on the web — you're limited to two streams elsewhere.