Just a few weeks back we reported on YouTube’s new native player API for Android, which essentially lets developers embed and play YouTube videos within their apps, while also receiving support for YouTube ads, and getting closed caption displays, among other things.
Among the apps already tapping this new API are Flipboard (which recently launched its Android tablet version), BuzzFeed, SoundTracking, Skimble and 9×9.tv, the last of which officially launched this week, after a quiet bedding-in period.
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Indeed, 9×9.tv is a YouTube video discovery app for Android, serving viewers with curated video channels similar to what Flipboard and Zite are doing with the written word. So while you may have favorited a number of channels within the YouTube app itself already, 9×9.tv aims to bring more of a curated TV experience to a dedicated, standalone app.
How it works
The video content is good to go the second you launch the app, and you access videos directly from the YouTube channels of a number of well-known media brands, including Associated Press, CNET, ITN News, CNN, Reuters and many more.
While you don’t need an account to access the videos, to be able to follow profiles and personalize your experience you will need to sign-up for a 9×9.tv account. Herein lies the first obvious omission from what I can tell – the lack of YouTube account integration, which would let you seamlessly sync both accounts.
That issue aside, the app worked pretty flawlessly for me, though it did seem to be optimized more for tablets rather than smartphones – or, perhaps, smartphones in landscape mode. In portrait mode on my Samsung Galaxy S2, some of the text was cut off at the side and some of the icons were slightly overlapped by other interface features, which made it look a little clumsy, as you can see in the image below:
In terms of navigation, you swipe left-and-right to flip through videos, and up-and-down to flip through channels. When playing a channel, you also have continuous video playback, meaning you don’t need to hit play each time.
The app’s so-called ‘day parting’ and recommendation features serve up a curated set of nine YouTube channels to be broadcast according to the time of day. You can tune in any time for a personalized, bite-sized selection of channels. For example, the ‘Morning Shows’ time-slot gives users channels including news and morning talk show videos, while ‘Late Night’ focuses on comedy and late-night talkshows.
“When the opportunity arose for us to be one of the first to leverage Google’s YouTube Android Player API, we saw it as the perfect way to make it easy for people to find and enjoy the best that YouTube has to offer,” says Jack Chang, COO of 9×9.tv. “With our app, users can now get a more TV-like experience on Android devices by flipping through high-quality YouTube channels and discovering videos that are interesting and relevant to them, at any time of the day.”
9×9.tv is a Silicon Valley company headquartered in Santa Clara, California with international offices in Taipei and Beijing. The Android app is available to download from Google Play now.
Feature Image Credit – Thinkstock