YouTube TV Launches Multiview in Time for March Madness

(Image credit: YouTube TV)

YouTube TV has introduced its highly anticipated multiview feature that will allow its subscribers to view up to four program streams simultaneously. Multiview will only be available for a limited number of subscribers on the first day of the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament and is designed to help the streamer garner viewer feedback in anticipation of a full-scale rollout when YouTube TV's "NFL Sunday Ticket" service launches in the fall. 

In a blog post, the company said subscribers could pick up to four pre-selected streams at once in their “Top Picks for You” section. After selecting multiview, viewers can switch audio and captions between streams, and toggle back and forth out of a fullscreen view of a game. 

“Multiview joins our suite of features for sports fans and we’re looking forward to continuing to improve the experience and introducing it to all YouTube TV subscribers over the next several months,” the company said.

In December, NFL and Google inked a multiyear deal reportedly valued at $2 billion a year to move "NFL Sunday Ticket," which had been a staple of DirecTV since it launched in 1994, to YouTube TV starting with the 2023-2024 NFL season. 

NFL Sunday Ticket will be available on two of YouTube’s businesses as an add-on package on YouTube TV and standalone a-la-carte on YouTube Primetime Channels. No details on pricing are yet available. NFL Sunday Ticket offers all out-of-market Sunday regular-season NFL games (based on viewer's location) broadcast on Fox and CBS. 

In a Q&A on the blog post, German Cheung, the engineering lead for the YouTube TV core experience team, talked about how the company developed the technology to ensure that home viewers would not need any extra gear for a feature that involves higher processing and bandwidth than the typical unicast.

The streamer used existing technology it had already developed for a feature called “Go Live Together” that allows for content creators to collaborate in real time. “Instead of building something totally new from scratch, we could use what the Live team had already created and make adjustments from there for the YouTube TV platform and bring the feature to market faster,” Cheung said. 

It also borrowed from YouTube’s content ID system that monitors YouTube videos and matches it with content uploaded by copyright owners. “Our teams found that we could use the same technology to make our recommendations even better by using what had already been built to make sure we don’t recommend the same, or similar, videos to a viewer,” he said.

As for now, the menu available to the limited number of subscribers will be pre-selected by YouTube TV but that’s expected to change as the service rolls out to a wider audience, Cheung added. 

“Over time, we’ll refine and add more functionality to multiview, including the option to customize your own multiview streams.”

Tom Butts

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (, the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.