Not to be outdone by Hulu’s gorgeous desktop application, the video team at Google has just released YouTube XL, a simplified version of the video Web site meant to be displayed on your television.
Unlike Hulu’s app, YouTube XL is Web-based, meaning there’s no download required; just point your browser to https://www.youtube.com/xl to fire it up. It’ll work from any browser, so long as you have Flash installed, and is optimized with big buttons and big labels for distance viewing. (If you have an Android phone, you can use the app Gmote to control the interface from your couch.)
YouTube XL is refreshingly devoid of ads, idiotic user comments, video suggestions and other superfluous junk, making the interface a breeze to use. Because any browser can run XL, look for plenty of nerds bookmarking the site on their Ninendo Wiis and PS3s. However, users with TV-linked Mac Minis and other entertainment PCs will be better off, since those video game systems don’t yet support high enough resolution to show YouTube’s HD videos. Even so, the convenience alone will be a boon for those of us that don’t have HDTVs or Blu-ray players with YouTube built in.