YouTube goes XL, but do they have their eyes on a bigger prize?
Poor YouTube. There it is, a global phenomena and one of the world's biggest brands, yet it still can't find a way to monetise its service beyond buttons; there's a distinct chance it'd earn more busking on the underground, or by submitting the videos to You've Been Framed. But today's release of YouTube XL is perhaps a doff of the hat to its future intentions.
XL is like YouTube, only bigger. Well, not quite. The service is all about quality, not quantity, because YouTube XL delivers an interface optimised for television screens. Most of the features of the usual site have been stripped out to provide a menu that reminds you of an EPG, a DVD menu, or the BBC iPlayer for that matter. While the quality of the content won't improve, HD material is becoming prevalent on YouTube, so assuming your ISP provider doesn't throttle the living daylights out of your connection, then you'll be able to easily navigate your way through high quality content on a larger screen.
So where's the money in it for YouTube? As internet connection speeds have increased, a gradual migration of online video from computer to television has begun, in terms of content and presentation. American platform Hulu is likely to launch in the UK this Autumn, but whereas YouTube offers user generated content of limited length, Hulu will offer popular full-length television shows in high quality. XL doesn't feel like an exciting proposition right now, but if a deal can be struck to begin delivering high quality content similar to Hulu, then a platform optimised for television screens makes far more sense.