YouTube Multiview rolls out, but only a few sports fans will get the full experience

Four basketball games on YouTube Multiview
(Image credit: YouTube)

YouTube is officially launching its Multiview feature to users. However thanks to several limitations, it won’t be as robust as the preview versions.

Multiview first made its appearance back in March as part of an early access program giving sports fans a way to watch up to four different games simultaneously on YouTube TV. Then in June, the feature was expanded to include informational channels like BBC News. But for the proper release, the company saw fit to drastically cut down on Multiview’s capabilities as it’s technically only available to WBNA League Pass subscribers. Just like before, you can view the four streams on YouTube TV, but there's also the option of watching on YouTube via Primetime Channels.

It doesn’t appear YouTube is revoking the older early access versions of Multiview as a company representative told Tom's Guide that NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers can still use the feature to watch this season’s games or for “select sports moments".  Additionally, the company will introduce more sports options too. Right now, things are limited to just NFL and WNBA games.

They added that YouTube is “still testing Multiview for non-sports content [with plans] to expand to more users” in the coming weeks, but didn't give any specific dates.

How to activate Multiview

Detailed instructions on how to activate Multiview are available on the YouTube Help page.  

There are some hardware requirements you must meet first. You must own either a smart TV with the YouTube app or a streaming device like a Chromecast or Fire TV Stick. Be aware the update is not present on smartphones or web browsers, which is probably for the best. We can’t imagine watching four football games on a tiny phone screen.

Assuming you have the correct hardware, Multiview-supporting streams will appear in multiple locations: on the Home tab, a Primetime Channel’s homepage, as well as the Watch Next recommendations list. You have a variety of options to choose from. Do note the left-side and top-left streams “will be highlighted by default” meaning the audio from those streams will play first. Good news is you can switch sources easily by using the directional pad on a remote.

See more

We asked YouTube for more information on when people can expect non-sports content that supports Multiview, and if the company is considering expanding the tech to original content. Imagine being able to watch four of your favorite YouTube channels or live streamers at once. We think an expansion to first-party videos would be great, especially for us nerds who don't watch sports. This story will be updated if we hear back.

Our wishlist aside, if you're thinking about watching football via Multiview, you’re going to need a good TV. You’ll want one that is good enough to display fast-moving objects in detail while also being bright enough to watch during the afternoon.

For recommendations, check out TechRadar’s list of the best sports TVs for 2023.

Update 8-02-2023: A company representative got back to us stating Google currently doesn't have anything to share regarding non-sports content or expanding Multiview to first-party videos. Although the platform is always looking for different ways to grow its feature to other forms of content.

We also asked if YouTube has plans to launch Multiview to other countries. The same representative said Multiview is "currently only available in the [United States]" since it launched on YouTube TV which is a US-only service.

Cesar Cadenas

Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.