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Tesla screens may support YouTube with next software update

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Tesla is planning on supporting YouTube on their cars’ central infotainment screen very soon. This announcement was made on Thursday, June 13, at the 2019 E3 video game event in Los Angeles by Elon Musk during a Q&A. Last August, Musk’s confirmed on Twitter that the company was working on hosting some kind of video streaming service on the car screens. This further confirmation is the first time that YouTube has been named explicitly.

The company has long used the central screen of the car to host “Easter eggs” and even games for their owners and passengers. By supporting video players and YouTube in particular, Tesla is furthering its push to be both cutting edge and to make moves that other automakers resist or refuse to do. No other automaker allows full streaming video support in the dashboard of their cars.

On August 19, Elon Musk responded to a Twitter request to enable video streaming with a tease that it would be coming to “Version 10” of the screen’s software. We are currently on Version 9 and an update is expected soon. At the time, it was unclear what video streaming service(s) Musk was referring to in that cryptic tweet. But the announcement at E3 at least clarifies one streaming service Tesla aims to launch with the next update. When enabled, there is no technical reason the company could not also enable Netflix or Hulu as well.

During the same Q&A, it was also revealed that Fallout Shelter would join other games currently available on the screens, like Cuphead, 2048, Missile Command, Asteroids, Lunar Lander, and Centipede.

Of course, the logic of allowing video on the large screen is being questioned. Musk reiterated at the Q&A that video and game features are only available when the car is in park. It is also worth remembering that Tesla owners are commonly sitting in their motionless cars while they are charging at Supercharger stations, and video streaming (as well as playable games) are a perfect way to spend time while they top off their batteries. We expect to see Version 10 of this infotainment software sometime this year, and we will see then if YouTube is included in that build as this informal Q&A announcement predicts.

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