YouTube SmartTV App Review
YouTube, the world’s most popular video sharing site, is pretty much on every device available to us. It has become one of those services that we simply cannot live without so its not surprising to see it in the Samsung Smart Hub. The app comes pre-installed on all Samsung SmartTV’s and is something that I for one use quite regularly. As soon as you launch the app, you are presented with the main screen, which like most of the app, is very basic in nature. From the main screen you can select the following:
1) Discover Channels – An area featuring video channels by genre, such as animations, action, ect.
2) Search – The main search page.
3) My YouTube – Allows you to link your YouTube account with your TV and watch your favorite or uploaded videos.
4) Featured – A selection of YouTube featured videos.
Going into Discover channels, there really is a lot of prime time content from the likes of BBC amongst other large broadcasters. Some clips are short and some a little longer. Either way, when you play one video, the next one plays automatically thereafter so you have the feeling of watching a TV channel.
The search facility is quite basic. You scroll through the keyboard (up, down, left, right, select) and as you type the search results are presented to the right hand side of the screen. Now the search facility is a bit sluggish. I tried this on a wired and wireless connection to my 60meg broadband connection and it always took a while for the results to be displayed. A handy part of the search is the ability to filter between ‘all’ results or ‘hd’ only.
Linking the app to your YouTube account was a very simple process. You simply enter a code given to you on the TV on a YouTube activation page or you can alternatively just sign in with your username and password. Once signed in, I was happy to see all my uploaded videos, ready for me to browse through.
Throughout using this app, I did feel as if the navigation of the content was a little laborious and I felt as if it could have been improved. However, once I was viewing a video this changed and it was very easy to bring up info on the video you are watching as well as bringing up related videos in a show reel at the bottom of the page, whilst the video you are watching was still playing. You simply use the up and down remote buttons to bring these options up.
Overall, the app did perform well and streamed everything I asked it to. Being YouTube, even if the app wasn’t good, you would still be happy as the content on offer is huge. The only downsides are that the search was sluggish yet basic and that navigating around the menus was a bit long winded. Once you are watching a video though, then it’s easy to change and browse through more.
I would like to see more features like the ability to search for a video whilst you are watching one and the ability to view results in thumbnails in the same way you do with say the LoveFilm app. I am sure we will see more features and additional updates in the near future as the Google owned YouTube has a very large and proactive development team. I was hoping to score this app more but it is what it is – 3 out of 5 for this one!