YouTube’s Stable Volume is now on Android TV devices – here’s everything you need to know about the update your ears may love

Weird audio mixing is a really annoying problem. How many times have you watched a video or movie where the audio sounds fine only for the dialog to be super quiet? 

Google is helping audiences out by expanding YouTube’s Stable Volume feature from the mobile app to “Android TV and Google TV devices.” It's a handy tool that automatically adjusts “the volume of videos you watch,” all without requiring you to pick up your remote, according to 9To5Google.

That story explains that 'Stable Volume' ensures a consistent listening experience “by continuously balancing the volume range between quiet and loud parts” in a video. After installing YouTube version 4.40.303 on their Android TV display, they discovered the feature. 

If you select the gear icon whenever a video is playing, you should see Stable Volume as an option within the Settings menu. It’ll sit in between Captions and the playback speed function.

Stable Volume on Android TV

(Image credit: Google/9To5Google)

It’s turned on by default, but you can deactivate it at any time just by selecting it while watching content. 9To5Google recommends turning off Stable Volume while listening to music or playing a video with a “detailed audio mix.” Having it activated then could potentially mess with the sound quality. Plus, YouTube Music isn't on Android TV or Google TV hardware, so you won't have a dedicated space specifically for songs.

We should mention that the official YouTube Help page for Stable Volume states it isn’t available for all videos, nor will music be negatively affected. We believe this note is outdated because it also says the tool is exclusive to the YouTube mobile app. It’s entirely possible the versions on Android TV and Google TV could behave differently.

Be sure to keep an eye out for the patch when it arrives. It joins other YouTube on TV features launched in 2024 such as Multiview and the auto-generated key moments.

Check out TechRadar's list of the best TV for 2024. We cover a wide array of models for different budgets.

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YouTube’s new AI tool will let you create your dream song with a famous singer’s voice

YouTube is testing a pair of experimental AI tools giving users a way to create short songs either via a text prompt or their own vocal sample.

The first one is called Dream Track, a feature harnessing the voices of a group of nine mainstream artists to generate 30-second music tracks for YouTube Shorts. The way it works is you enter a text prompt into the engine describing what you want to hear and then select a singer appearing in the tool’s carousel. Participating musicians include John Legend, Sia, and T-Pain; all of whom gave their consent to be a part of the program. Back in late October, a Bloomberg report made the rounds stating YouTube was working on AI tech allowing content creators “to produce songs using the voices of famous singers”, but couldn’t launch it due to the ongoing negotiations with record labels. Dream Track appears to be that self-same AI

YouTube's Dream Track on mobile

(Image credit: YouTube)

For the initial rollout, Dream Track will be available to a small group of American content creators on mobile devices. No word on if and when it’ll see a wider release or desktop version. 

The announcement post has a couple of videos demonstrating the feature. One of them simulates a user asking the AI to create a song about “a sunny morning in Florida” using T-Pain’s voice. In our opinion, it does a pretty good job of emulating his style and coming up with lyrics on the fly, although the performance does sound like it’s been through an Auto-Tune filter.

Voices into music

The second experiment is called Music AI Tools which, as we alluded to earlier, can generate bite-sized tracks by transforming an uploaded vocal sample. For example, a short clip of you humming can turn into a guitar riff. It even works in reverse as chords coming from a MIDI keyboard can be morphed into a choir

An image on Google’s DeepMind website reveals what the user interface for the Music AI Tool desktop app may look like. At first, we figured the layout would be relatively simple like Dream Track, however, it is a lot more involved. 

YouTube's Music AI Tool

(Image credit: Google)

The interface resembles a music editing program with a timeline at the top highlighting the input alongside several editing tools. These presumably would allow users a way to tweak certain elements in a generated track. Perhaps a producer wants to tone down the distortion on a guitar riff or bump up the piano section.

Google says it is currently testing this feature with those in YouTube’s Music AI Incubator program, which is an exclusive group consisting of “artists, songwriters, and producers” from across the music industry. No word on when it’ll see a wide release.

Analysis: Treading new waters

YouTube is pitching this recent foray as a new way for creative users to express themselves; a new way to empower fledgling musicians who may lack important resources to grow. However, if you look at this from the artists’ perspective, the attitude is not so positive. The platform compiled a series of quotes from the group of nine singers regarding Dream Track. Several mention the inevitability of generative AI in music and the need to be a part of it, with a few stating they will remain cautious towards the tech.

We may be reading too much into this, but we get the vibe that some aren’t totally on board with this tech. To quote one of our earlier reports, musicians see generative AI as something “they’ll have to deal with or they risk getting left behind.” 

YouTube says it’s approaching the situation with the utmost respect, ensuring “the broader music community” benefits. Hopefully, the platform will maintain its integrity moving forward.

While we have you, be sure to check out TechRadar's list of the best free music-making software for 2023.

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YouTube’s Snapchat sharing feature sounds cool – but is it just a gimmick?

YouTube's latest social feature is letting users share videos to Snapchat as stickers. If you liked a video that a friend or family member might be interested in, you can immediately share it via Snapchat in the form of a sticker slapped onto the snap.

The social feature, available on both iOS and Android smartphones, pulls up the Snapchat app when you select it from the 'Share' menu on a YouTube video. A handy box containing the video's thumbnail and title will appear on your snap. And after you've taken a photo, you can adjust the thumbnail's size, angle and location on the snap. Then, when you've sent your snap to a friend, they can open the YouTube video by simply tapping the link embedded in the thumbnail.

The new sharing process eschews the need to directly copy a link from YouTube for pasting into Snapchat. Instead, one tap of that Share button is all you need to transfer the video to your snap, with all info and the link contained in one convenient snippet.

Analysis: Improvement or gimmick?

Snapchat YouTube sharing

(Image credit: Snapchat)

Within the confines of Snapchat, this new YouTube video-sharing feature sounds great. It requires fewer taps and link management and means Snapchat doesn't have to rely on your clipboard for copied content. Being able to customize the embedded video's placement, size, and angle is nice, too. But are Snapchat users really going to be impressed by this feature, and more importantly, will people use it?

The real issue here lies in whether or not Snapchat is the most convenient social platform with which to share YouTube videos. While this overhaul to sharing YouTube videos via Snapchat is an improvement, it's really just a nifty addition to what is still a cumbersome process.

You still have to create a snap to host the YouTube snippet. That in itself could be a decently lengthy process, depending on your own preferences and attention to detail when it comes to taking snaps. In this case, it would be much quicker and easier to simply share a YouTube link through more conventional social platforms, like Whatsapp, Discord, or even Twitter and Facebook depending on the group of contacts you wish to reach.

It's still a win for avid Snapchat users, of course, especially those who use it as their primary social platform. We can even see there being some particularly creative uses of this YouTube video sharing feature. One example that comes to mind would be an online merchant taking a snap of their product and inserting a YouTube snippet that the user can open and learn more about the product.

Therein lies what we feel is the biggest issue with this update. It's harmless, and definitely doesn't detract from the Snapchat experience. However, it's also very situational, will work better for some more than others, and isn't something we see a swathe of Snapchat users flocking to in order to share their favorite YouTube videos with friends. There are quicker ways of doing that, even if those methods aren't quite as fun or creative.

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