By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman
More than 30 years as a TV journalist.

TV Answer Man, can you explain why YouTube TV does not let US pick the games in Multiview? I have NFL Sunday Ticket, right? And I want to pick the games! — George, Portland, Maine.

What Is YouTube TV’s Multiview?

George, YouTube’s Multiview, which displays up to four channels on one screen at the same time, is a popular but controversial feature. It’s controversial because the user can’t pick the four channels; they are pre-selected by YouTube. For instance, during the NFL Sunday Ticket, there are multiple Multiview options, but each one includes games chosen by the streamer. This is frustrating, particularly for fantasy football players who want to follow specific teams and players. They want the four games to include players on their fantasy teams.

Although YouTube’s first nine weeks of providing the Ticket has been regarded as a success, at least to this reporter, the lack of customization for Multiview continues to be a sore spot with fans. So why doesn’t YouTube just add it? The company actually offers an explanation at its web site and it’s certainly a reasonable one:

What YouTube TV Says About Multiview’s Game Selection

“Our goal with Multiview is to make it available to everyone with a television. Since most devices don’t have the hardware to support Multiview, we have to do the processing of video feeds on our servers to make Multiview possible,” YouTube says. “This means that every unique combination watched in Multiview uses limited data center and computational resources. Because each region has unique, local content, we are especially constrained on the number of combinations we can create that include local feeds. We try to select the best combinations based on expected popularity and are always improving our processes.”

In an interview with Deadline, Mary Ellen Coe, YouTube’s chief business officer, elaborated on why you can’t choose the games: “That is a very hard thing to do technically. Put it this way, the feedback is, we hear you loud and clear. We have a seven-year relationship and will be looking to innovate in the future,” she said.

It sounds like Multiview customization is not coming soon. But at least we know why. YouTube is saying that most streaming devices and Smart TVs are simply not equipped to handle it.

George, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!

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The TV Answer Man is veteran journalist Phillip Swann who has covered the TV technology scene for more than three decades. He will report on the latest news and answer your questions regarding new devices and services that are changing the way you watch television. See the bio for Phillip Swann here.