Ads make the Apple TV’s new YouTube app worse than the old one


The new YouTube experience on Apple TV has ads. Blech.  Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac
The new YouTube experience on Apple TV has ads. Blech. Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

Yesterday, we were excited when a major update to the Apple TV introduced a major redesign of the set-top box’s official YouTube app. Today, though, we’re a little less enthused, because it turns out that along with getting a new look, it also got ads.

Over at Recode, Peter Kafka reports:

The most consequential change is that YouTube videos on Apple TV will run with ads. Which also means that all of the videos that run on YouTube (most notably music videos) will now run on YouTube’s Apple TV app.

It also (probably) means that Google’s team doesn’t think Apple is planning a significant overhaul of Apple TV anytime soon, since it (probably) wouldn’t spend the time on an app refresh if it thought the device was going to change radically in the near future.

Daring Fireball’s John Gruber points out the fallacy of that idea, pointing out that it’s Apple — not Google — who designs the apps on the Apple TV.

Kafka makes it sound like the apps for Apple TV are written by the third party companies, like with App Store apps for iOS. I’m pretty sure that’s not the case, and that the YouTube “app” for today’s Apple TV is like the YouTube app for the original iPhone: written by Apple, but designed through some sort of partnership with Google.

So no, the new YouTube app doesn’t signal that Apple or Google don’t expect a new Apple TV to come down the pipeline soon. It does signal, though, that Google finally managed to get its way, and force Apple to start YouTube ads on the Apple TV. A necessary evil, perhaps, but an evil nonetheless.

Of course, on the positive side, since YouTube allows content creators to restrict video playback on devices not capable of displaying ads, this will lead to more videos being available on the Apple TV. But I haven’t personally run into that problem too often; I’d rather have a few less videos than have to watch a 30 second clip before each Grumpycat video I load up.