You can now watch YouTube totally ad-free without resorting to using an ad-blocker.
YouTube Red, the company's $9.99 per month subscription service, went live Wednesday, letting users watch their favorite videos without being interrupted by pesky ads (among other perks). Although YouTube has decided to give the service separate branding ("Red," which has nothing to do with that similarly named adult video streaming site), once you've paid up the service lives inside the normal YouTube app and website, as seen below.
Beyond granting an ad-free experience, YouTube Red subscribers can also save videos to their smartphone for offline viewing, which will be similar to anyone who's used Spotify's "Available Offline" feature. This could be useful if you want to watch videos on your commute in the subway where there's no wireless signal, say, or if you want to download a video on Wi-Fi and watch later without eating into your precious mobile data.
Videos can also play in the background, meaning you can switch to a different app without the audio stopping—handy if you want to listen to, say, a TED Talk while checking your email, or if you want to listen to one of those "here's a slideshow of pictures even though you're just trying to listen to a song" videos that populate YouTube. I do this frequently for video game music that's otherwise unavailable online.
YouTube Red also includes access to Google Play Music, Google's Spotify-like streaming music service that normally costs $9.99 on its own for the premium version, which includes on-demand song selection and offline access.
It's important to note that regular ol' YouTube isn't going anywhere; you can still watch any video on the site with your computer or smartphone completely for free. YouTube Red just makes the experience a little more user friendly, and makes mobile consumption of videos less of a headache than it may otherwise be. Luckily there's a 30-day free trial to see if the service fits well into your routine.