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Why ‘Mosaic Mode’ on YouTube TV would make sense

A report from Protocol’s Janko Rettgers suggests that YouTube TV is planning to add the ability to watch as many as four live feeds at once. That’s not a new phenomenon for streaming TV. The defunct PlayStation Vue had it, and FuboTV also sports the feature.

That play on words is intentional. It’s the sort of feature that makes perfect sense for a streaming service that serves sports fans. And while FuboTV long has positioned itself that way publicly, YouTube TV also has leaned heavily into live sports in a few ways.

YouTube TV app icon on Apple TV.
Phil Nickinson/Digital Trends

First is in how YouTube TV — which has more than 5 million subscribers — has been advertised. It’s not uncommon to turn on a live sporting event and see YouTube TV as a major advertiser. And we’re not just talking one-off games — we’re talking about Major League Baseball’s World Series. Or the NBA Finals. Little events like that. And it’s not overly surprising, then, to find that NBA League Pass and MLB.TV are add-on options within YouTube TV.

There’s also a full sports package available for YouTube TV. The Sports Plus addition gets you NFL RedZone, beIN Sports, Fox Soccer Plus, VSiN, Outside TV+, PokerGO+, MAVTV, TVG, Stadium, Billiard TV, SportsGrid, Players TV, Fight Network, and Impact Wrestling — all for $11 a month or $80 a year.

So, yeah. YouTube TV is into sports.

Questions remain, however, about this “Mosaic Mode,” which has yet to be announced and was only sourced from “YouTube employees” who “shared these plans at an internal partner event with hardware manufacturers.”

First, we have no idea when it might actually become a feature. (Or if it will, for that matter.) Nothing’s official until it’s official.

Then there’s the matter of money, because all things come down to money. There are a couple of obvious options here:

It wouldn’t be surprising in the slightest if Mosaic Mode was another add-on feature with an additional fee above YouTube TV’s current $65-a-month fee. YouTube TV doesn’t really have anything close to this sort of option — 4K Plus is as close as it gets, and it costs an extra $20 a month.

It’s hard to imagine that Mosaic Mode would cost that much. But we could make the argument for it, given that it’s exactly the sort of feature you’d use for sports and not much else (news junkies, maybe), and sports fans are more likely than others to pay up.

Or — and this would really hurt — it’s not impossible that we could see YouTube TV add Mosaic Mode for “free,” but alongside an increase to the monthly cost of YouTube TV itself. That in and of itself might not be enough to justify an increase to $70 or $75 a month, but it could be if it were part of a few additional features.

The Protocol report actually leads with the news that YouTube Shorts may finally be supported in the YouTube app — but that’s also the sort of thing that could be interesting if it were added as its own channel on YouTube TV.

Stay tuned.

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Phil Nickinson
Section Editor, Audio/Video
Phil spent the 2000s making newspapers with the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, the 2010s with Android Central and then the…
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