This week YouTube released a beta of an interface called Leanback, open for anyone to try right now. It starts out full-screen and immediately starts playing videos it thinks would interest you based on your YouTube contacts’ activities like rating and choosing favorites. I presume it will also, if it doesn’t already, suggest videos based on your own history and activity. Presently, you have to be logged in before you can use it.
In addition to suggested videos and searching, YouTube provides categories to choose from, just as on on the website, like comedy, entertainment, and education.
Navigating Leanback requires the use of only the arrow keys and enter key or spacebar, which makes it ideal for pairing with a universal remote. Optionally, if you want to search YouTube and you’ve got a keyboard in front of you, that will work, too. For example, you could search for “Craig Ferguson July 8, 2010″ and start watching a recent episode, and the segments would play in the right sequence. Craig Ferguson has very diligent fans on YouTube, and CBS doesn’t seem to mind.
Even if that weren’t the case, the definition of “TV” seems to be changing. I’m old enough that I have different expectations from TV shows than I do from Internet videos, but many people in younger generations mentally group them together as just “entertainment,” and they don’t really care where it comes from. That’s what I heard Craig Ferguson claim on the Nerdist Podcast, anyway.
Would you lean back for YouTube?