YouTube launches 'Leanback' for TV

YouTube launches Leanback for optimal TV viewing
YouTube launches Leanback for optimal TV viewing

YouTube has unveiled its new 'Leanback' service for dedicated couch potatoes that want the best way of watching the online video service on their TVs.

YouTube Leanback is an idea that YouTube engineers have been developing for some time.

The objective was to provide the best user interface for what the company refers to as the "10-foot experience." (And what the rest of us refer to as "watching telly.")

Cursor control

Leanback does away with traditional mouse control and uses very basic keystrokes to let you navigate the service on your TV. As such, Leanback users the four cursor keys and the enter button. That is it.

Scroll through the thumbnails on the TV screen using the arrow keys, hit the Down button to access pre-defined categories of video or hit Up to go to the search menu. Leanback will also play the best quality, highest definition streams by default.

The company claims that the new service is a "breakthrough" in this type of user interface," according to Kuan Yong, product manager for YouTube Leanback.

Google TV soon

Google is of course keen to move into the living room, having unveiled its Google TV service earlier this spring.

"Just as its name implies, YouTube Leanback is all about letting you sit back, relax and be entertained," adds Kuan Yong.

"Videos tailored to your interests play as soon as you visit the site and they play in full screen and high definition, continuously. There's no need to click, search, or browse, unless you want to, of course. Watching YouTube becomes as easy as watching TV."

As with all new Google and YouTube offerings, the service is currently in beta, but you can check it out now over at,

Adam Hartley