Monday, December 3, 2012

Oh, the Youtube App for Vita is Good Now

So, waaaaaaay back at the end of June, the Vita saw the release of a Youtube App that I was initially hopeful for.  It was released in a sorry state, with no subscription support (or Channels, but those came into the prominence they're in currently later on), a shoddy Search function and overall, it just wasn't a way to enjoy Youtube unless you had access to a computer to double-check your favorite Youtubers.  Still, I hoped, but never suspected some update that would add in those features.  Then, a (little over a) month later I kind of went over the Apps downfalls again now that they had become ingrained and it seemed fairly obvious that the App was in the state that it would remain in.  I was a little bitter about that since, well, it was a half-done app and it seemed it would remain that way, meaning it was not a true way to enjoy what Youtube has to offer off of a computer which is very important to me.  Because my computer sucks - I don't think I've really hammered on that point lately.  Still, I've been using it since, well, I can at least keep up with a few Youtubers using the "Recommended" (which was basically your Sub Feed, but not as good) list and the search (if I knew exactly what was out there already) and I'd more or less become complacent with its short-comings.

Imagine my immense surprise, then, when I opened the Youtube app today and the little orange "Update" icon appeared next to the usual three and, upon touching said button, it prominently displayed "Subscription and Channel support" as one of the many Bullet Points on its little changelog.  I was ecstatic yet also cautious, as Youtube usually never takes a step forward without two backwards.  It's unfortunately not a thing that is done, and, much like the App, I've more or less become used to that as well.  So I updated.  I waited anxiously in the quite short update, installed it and launched it to the brand new state it was in.  And I am happy to say that it's like a brand new world.  The image above was the one to greet me (well, not -exactly- that one as it was earlier today, but still) and it's as goddamn intuitive as it looks.  Touch one of the channels on the left side to open their feed which actually can filter by playlists too which blows my damn mind and everything is there.  (At least, I haven't dug too deep, but it looks like it at least.  I mean, there's playlists.  And Uploaded videos as a category.)

Here's a full changelog from the Playstation Blog post about the update:
  • Subscriptions and channels: Now you can view and manage your subscriptions (including your subscription to the PlayStation YouTube channel), browse all videos on a specific channel and check out detailed information in the “About this channel” menu option.
  • Improved controls: We’ve added new functions on controls including Next/Previous buttons, a loop video option and the ability to browse videos while another is playing, making it easy to select preferred videos without interrupting playback.
  • Playlist settings: You can now create playlists and add videos to your playlists, including your Favorites or Watch Later lists.
  • Closed captions: Captions help deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers enjoy YouTube videos, and they’re also useful if you forgot your headphones and want to watch videos in a loud (or quiet) setting while on-the-go. Now you can display closed captions when playing videos. Look for the captions icon on the video thumbnail. You can even change the language of captions in the options menu.
  • Continuous playback: In the settings menu, you can now enable continuous playback, so your next video selection will start to play automatically.
  • PS Vita buttons: You now have the option to use the PS Vita buttons to control playback and menus, which can be enabled in the Settings > System menu.
  • Share: Show that you’re tuned in—Tweet, Email or group message your friends the name and URL to the latest video. You can also invite people to check out any channel on YouTube — like the the PlayStation YouTube channel — via group message, so they don’t miss a beat.
  • Improved search: You can now use search filters — sorting by upload date or duration, for example — making it easier than ever to find your favorite videos.
Look at that.  Look at that.  Bask in that shit, for that is something worth basking in.  Because, quite simply, that is Youtube when it works and that's a rare sight indeed.

There's now five sections of the App (previously four) with the first being the Subscription section, which is fairly obvious from the screenshot above.  Suggestions, the next one, now functions as it -would-, taking what you've watched and generating a list of things that you might also be interested in for whatever reason.  The Search function has indeed been improved with a wealth of filtering options more than the two stated in the changelog - it's actually useful now.  History is the same and the last section, previously your Favorites list is now your Playlists sections which, for me just has favorites and Watch Later as you can see.  (Don't judge me.)  The Windowed Mode of watching videos is much the same as well, however the Like and Dislike buttons are in a different place and you'll notice the Uploader's little button thing is there.  This is so that you can go to their channel and subscribe to them if you so desire or unsubscribe if that's what you wanna do too.  Or if you just want to watch their other videos.  Which, well, this is kind of a Youtube necessity.  Full screen mode is largely the same with the addition of a Repeat button and a new button on the title row that, when pressed, shows you the playlist you accessed the video from while the video continues to play.  So, if you're marathoning something, well, there you go, it is that much easier now.

The good thing about all of it is, obviously, that it's a full-featured App now and, from my limited exposure to it, it's stable.  Knock on wood for that, however since, again it's -Youtube-, but it's been working fine for me so far.  The bad thing about it is that it took five extra months to get to this point when, by all means, it should have been like this when it first came out.  Honestly, there was no excuse for the state it was in when it came out originally.  Still, I can't be too mad anymore as I have what appears to be Youtube in its near-entirety (the part I care about at least) and I don't have to worry about juggling my Recommended list from "Subscriptions" to "the point in which it's actually Recommended videos which means I have to search now".  If I want to keep up with AvidyaZen's three different Feed the Beast series, hey, I can do that from his channel.  It's almost like this, as a concept, is very obvious to understand and has been at work elsewhere for months upon months.  Sarcastic italics.  Still - even though there's no more urgency, I am quite invested in these videos as well as my usual LPers like the oft-mentioned Helloween4545, my buddy Kaseius and everybody's favorite German, Klyka1.  The neat thing is now you can just look them up on the App and check out their stuff without any hassle!

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