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Breaking: YouTube TV to Add Multiview for NCAA Tournament for Select Users; Only Pre-Selected Game Feeds Available

Matt Tamanini

Cord-cutting sports fans, YouTube TV has a treat for you. On Tuesday, the largest live TV streaming service announced that it was launching its multiview feature early to allow fans to watch up to four NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament games at the same time. Company executives have been touting the eventual launch of “Mosaic Mode” in time for NFL Sunday Ticket to join the service this fall, but the streamer will be launching a similar feature this week so that customers can take advantage of it during some of the most exciting days on the sports calendar.

As The Streamable predicted a month ago, YouTube TV will give select users early access to the feature, allowing them to watch up to four pre-selected streams at once. The feature will be available in viewers’ “Top Picks for You” section of the app.

Once the multiview function is selected (there is no mention of Mosaic Mode in the announcement), viewers will be able to toggle back and forth between streams, picking which game they want to hear the audio for. The feature will also give fans the option to easily enlarge a single feed into fullscreen mode. The one caveat of this feature — which presumably differentiates it from the full Mosaic Mode — is that the games will be presented to viewers in preselected packages, rather than giving fans the option to pick the games they want to watch; however, in this case, that really is a distinction without a difference.

While the game schedule is set up to provide non-stop action from start to finish on Thursday and Friday, the games are staggered so that there will never be more than four games happening at once. Presumably, this will allow YouTube TV to set up individual streams for every possible game combination available.

Last week, the tournament’s official streaming service, NCAA March Madness Live, announced that it would be launching a similar feature on both web and connected TV (CTV). However, with this multi-game feature, viewers will have the ability to select the games that they want to watch. The other key difference is that while the web version will allow users to stream up to four games, Turner Sports’ research indicated that viewers were only interested in two games at a time on their TVs; so that will be the max on the CTV app.

One of the reasons that YouTube TV, and other streamers, have been slow to roll out such a feature is that it requires a substantial amount of power from a streaming device or smart TV. Since YouTube TV doesn’t require that type of hardware, the service’s tech team had to get creative. That is why fuboTV’s Multiview option is only available on Apple TV devices and the now sunset PlayStation Vue was only available on PlayStation game consoles and Apple TV.

“Typically, when you think about a multiview experience, from a technical perspective, it requires a high-end user device to process and playback multiple streams at once and show them as one cohesive view on the screen,” YouTube TV engineering lead German Cheung said. “In the absence of relying on end user devices, we moved the processing requirements to happen on our side, on YouTube’s servers. This allows all subscribers to use the feature, regardless of their home equipment, because when it’s streamed to them, their device sees only one live feed, instead of two or four.”

Multiview joins a host of sports-focused features that YouTube TV is working on ahead of the Sunday Ticket launch this fall, including in-game polls, chats, comments, and more.

For many, the first two days of March Madness are national holidays. Now, YouTube TV is giving viewers and hoops fans even more reasons to take the day off and enjoy all of the action from the comfort of their own couches.

YouTube TV

YouTube TV is a live TV streaming service with more than 60 channels for $72.99/month. This plan includes local channels, 32 of the top 35 cable channels, and regional sports networks (RSNs) in select markets. The service includes an unlimited DVR.

With the recent addition of Viacom channels (BET, MTV, Comedy Central, etc.) to the service, they are only without Hallmark and A+E Networks (Lifetime, History, A&E).

They recently added NFL Network and new Sports Plus add-on which include channels like NFL RedZone for $11 a month.

YouTube TV offers select 4K content, including some live sports and on-demand shows, as part of their 4K Plus add-on. The 4K Plus add-on is $9.99 a month and also includes offline downloads and unlimited streams on your home network.

If you want a cheaper service with many of the entertainment channels on YouTube TV, you can subscribe to Philo which includes A+E, Discovery, Viacom, Hallmark, and other channels for just $20 a month after a 7-Day Free Trial.


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