Before Hulu and the online copyright crackdown, YouTube was the place to go for finding TV content on the Internet. Now, it's trying to be the place for Internet video content on your TV. YouTube has made the jump to living room screens through different methods, including as a widget for Samsung TVs running Yahoo's TV widgets. The YouTube widget is an easy solution to getting YouTube on your TV without the need for additional wires or devices, but it finds itself somewhere between a compact widget and a full-screen program, unable to compete with a number of other TV-based YouTube platforms.
We spent some time with the YouTube widget as part of our updated look at the Yahoo TV Widgets platform. The "snippet," or collapsed form of the widget as it appears on the dock at the bottom of the screen, only serves to launch the program--unlike the Yahoo Video widget, for example, which allows users to scroll through the snippet for favorite video categories. When expanded, the main window provides quick access to a number of familiar features, including links to all sorts of top video categories, channels and the search feature. Selecting any of these options (except Channels, which opens an additional but currently nonfunctional submenu) wipes the screen of whatever you were watching and loads a full-screen YouTube client that bears a resemblance to the Web site, only cast in black.
Call it semantics, but there's something about completely taking over the screen that isn't very widgety. Having a full-screen YouTube program is by no means a bad thing, but it does mean that the Yahoo widget has to hold its own against some strong competition.