Twitch’s Channel Switcher experiment mixes cable TV browsing with streams
Twitch is testing a new way to discover new channels that reminds me of the good old days of channel surfing on my TV. The experiment, which it calls the Channel Switcher, lets you easily flip through previews of a bunch of different streams to help you find something to watch. And perhaps best of all, you won’t see ads while using it.
Right now on Twitch, if you don’t already know what you want to watch, it can be difficult to find something new that you might actually want to tune into. Personally, my rundown is to check the homepage, scan the sidebar of people I follow, click into an individual game or category to browse who is live, or navigate directly to a streamer’s account.
But, if I want to move on from a stream I’m already watching, my best options are to click another followed account or recommendation on the sidebar or back out to Twitch’s Browse section. That latter option isn’t my favorite, as I often run into choice paralysis.
Channel Switcher looks like it will be a much quicker way to check out many different streamers. You’ll be able to watch a 60-second preview of a stream before having to decide to click through or watch another channel, according to Twitch spokesperson Ashton Williams.
It seems like only a lucky few will be able to try Channel Switcher for the moment, though. Williams says that “only a small percentage of users who are logged in” currently have access, and those who get it have been randomly selected. The experiment will be turned off in the middle of July so the company can analyze the results of the test, but Williams notes that Twitch plans to work on future iterations and may offer an opt-in version of the feature.