Silicon Valley News

Thursday, July 8, 2010

YouTube Unveils 'Leanback' Web TV

"Watching YouTube becomes as easy as watching TV," declares YouTube in a blog post introducing an enhancement to its video-sharing service.

YouTube Leanback, which is available at, uses arrow keys to act as controls for the feature, instead of a mouse.

YouTube Leanback will be integrated into Google TV, which will debut on Sony televisions that go on sale in the U.S. this fall.

Despite the fact that over two billion YouTube videos are viewed each day, most people spend very little time on the site. YouTube is therefore pushing the convergence of the Internet and television.

"This is really where the opportunity is biggest for YouTube right now," said Kuan Yong, senior product manager for Leanback.

"We are looking at five hours of TV that users are watching everyday in the U.S. versus 15 minutes of YouTube video. So there is a huge opportunity for us to bring YouTube into the living room, and at the same time bring some of the TV experience to YouTube."

YouTube is owned by Google. YouTube hopes to significantly increase its advertising revenue by having  people spend more time watching their videos.  According to estimates by Caris  and Company analyst Sandeep Aggarwal, the video site will generate revenue of about $525 million this year. That would make up about two percent of Google's projected ad revenue of over $27 billion this year.