YouTube TV may finally get a configurable split-screen mode. Google’s cable TV replacement service launched a 2×2 “multiview” feature in 2023, but it relied on pre-made choices cooked up by some person (or maybe AI) inside Google. It’s 10 months later, and now some users on Reddit are seeing a “Build a multiview” option that would let you pick which four channels you want to watch. Cord Cutters News got confirmation from Google that the feature is now being tested.
The current multiview is a fun way to stay on top of multiple games, but getting the games you want is an awkward experience. I’ve been watching NFL Sunday Ticket through YouTube TV this year, and there will be times when there are nine games on simultaneously, and you get only a handful of pre-made multiview options to sift through. Is your desired combination of four games in one of those multiview options? You’d better hope so! The canned combinations only get more awkward as the day goes on: one game ends early, and the station cuts to coverage of another game, and now two of your four windows have duplicate games. If an early game runs long and you want to watch the end next to an already-started late game, that was never an option either. The canned options were always four NFL games, too. If you wanted to watch the NFL and some non-NFL content, you were out of luck. You were easily looking at hundreds of multiview possibilities, so canned selections don’t scale well at all.
The Reddit user claims to have access to the feature and says that, during NBA games, the feature is limited to only selecting other NBA games, but at least that is better than scrolling through random pre-made combinations.
YouTube told Cord Cutters News that the feature would roll out to all devices that currently support multiview, but YouTube did not say when that would happen. YouTube has been promising customizable multiview since the feature launched last March. It also promised mixing and matching content types back in June, but that feature hasn’t widely launched, either. Testing is a good sign, at least.
The calls for customizable multiview have been so loud that the feature request once made it into a Deadline interview with YouTube Chief Business Officer Mary Ellen Coe. Without explaining too much, Coe called the feature “a very hard thing to do technically.”