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YouTube making jump to TV screens

Managers demonstrate a new stripped down player designed for people who have hooked up TVs to the Web.

A YouTube manager demonstrates the new YouTube XL viewing page. Greg Sandoval/CNET Networks

Like everyone else, YouTube hopes to make its way from the PC to a more prime entertainment location--the TV set.

Google's video service is rolling out a new browser feature, called YouTube XL, designed to present YouTube videos on big screens, company managers said Tuesday.

During a demonstration before a handful of media, YouTube showed how XL is designed for people who have hooked up their TVs to their laptops or video game consoles, such as Xbox 360 or Sony PlayStation 3.

How does it differ from YouTube's typical Web page?

It's a much more stripped down player. There are no scroll bars or viewer comments. There's little more than a search field and video thumbnails to help direct users. YouTube XL will work with any Web-connected device and on any browser.

The new feature is another sign that the battle in online video now is being waged in the living room.

One of the drawbacks is that you can't yet watch YouTube's modest library of movies or premium TV shows, as the company is working through licensing issues, managers said. I can see this being used by people who might want to throw in some user-generated fare into their TV-viewing mix.

YouTube XL brings along the same basic UI that came to game consoles, but it can be accessed on normal PCs. CNET