How To

5 fun new ways to watch YouTube

James Thornton

James Thornton

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There are more ways to browse and watch YouTube videos than you might expect!

YouTube is working hard to offer people fun new ways to enjoy its huge selection of videos. The site now includes a range of different features designed to help you discover great videos, and watch and interact with them in new and interesting ways.

Check out YouTube’s TestTube section, which the site describes as its “ideas incubator”. Here’s where the site tries out all its weird and wonderful new features, and there are some real gems in here. Here are my favorite YouTube secrets that you just have to try!

Cosmic Panda

Also billed as the ‘Channels and Watch Experiment’, Cosmic Panda is a completely redesigned version of YouTube. It aims to make it easier to find, watch and highlight new or interesting content.

For creators, Cosmic Panda offers lots of new tools: templates allow you to change the appearance of your Channel page by choosing different preset layouts; you can easily brand your Channel page with avatars and backgrounds; and you can play around with different modules on your page.

Other features of Cosmic Panda include a new sidebar, community tab, and a redesigned Watch page with a choice of four different size options. For Google Chrome users, transitions between Watch pages and Channels pages are totally seamless.

YouTube Disco

Want to rock out to your favorite bands without having to constantly search for their music on YouTube? Try out Disco, YouTube’s music discovery engine, which automatically creates mixes of music from your favorite bands.

Simply enter the name of a band or artist and YouTube will generate a playlist for you based around tracks by that artist. It’s great for discovering unreleased tracks, demos or live performances.

There’s also an option to play the top 100 songs or choose an artist from the list provided on the site.

YouTube Slam

This one allows you to become the first to find the best videos on YouTube. It does this in the form of head-to-head videos in three different categories: Comedy, Cute and Bizarre.

Choose a category and you’ll be shown two videos. Once you’ve watched them you can vote for which one you think is the funniest/cutest/weirdest, based on the category you chose. After you’ve voted, a new slam will appear.

You can view the overall leaders in each category to see what the public think are the best videos on YouTube. Be careful about ‘slamming’ at work though, because it’s real addictive and you could easily lose your whole day!

YouTube Topics

If you want to become an expert on a particular topic or issue, YouTube Topics is the place to go. Here you can learn about everything from wing suit flying to French bread-making.

The design of YouTube Topics is excellent. There is a series of recommended topics to choose from, each with a series of inspirational thumbnail images and descriptions.  Select a topic to open up the list of related popular videos. There’s an option to play all the videos back-to-back, and links to other related topics.

If you’re not interested in any of the subjects listed on the YouTube Topics home page then simply click the Resample button, or look for something that interests you using the Search box.

YouTube Leanback

Another different way of looking at YouTube, Leanback offers a viewing experience more similar to what you get on a TV. Just like television too, you just need to sit back and watch as YouTube selects which videos to show you.

Buttons are larger, and the whole page is stripped down to take out all the extra elements (comments, related videos, etc.). This means the focus is the video, which loads at full screen to really add to the television feel of the interface.

Videos are easy to control with Leanback, with larger buttons and even an Android remote control app that lets you control YouTube with your phone.

There are plenty more hidden gems on YouTube if you delve deep enough. Read our top YouTube tips post for more about how you can get more from the site. Make sure you try YouTube karaoke too, which can liven up even the deadest parties!

James Thornton

James Thornton

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