Google’s answer to the growing popularity of TikTok was YouTube Shorts: short videos in (mostly) vertical format. The flipped aspect ratio makes them difficult to watch on TVs, but YouTube is trying to change that.
Before now, Shorts and other vertical videos played in the normal video player on YouTube on TVs, leaving the sides completely empty and all the important info at the bottom. Now the company is rolling out an interface specifically for Shorts, with a lighter background, a white border around videos, and controls on the right side. The new update comes after YouTube just revamped the desktop site and mobile apps.
YouTube said in a blog post, “We simplified the design of the right side rail, but will be looking to bring in additional functionality in future releases. We believe that this experience balances the fun, quirkiness of Shorts in a way that feels natural for TV.”
Of course, vertical video will never look good on a widescreen TV, unless you happen to own one of the few TVs that can rotate from horizontal to vertical. You’ll probably still have a better experience on a phone or tablet, but YouTube is trying to make the TV experience good enough to watch cute dog videos with friends or family on the big screen.
The new design is rolling out to the TV app for YouTube (not to be confused with YouTube TV) starting today.