Tesla Teases an “Immersive, Cinematic” Streaming Experience for Netflix, YouTube



Netflix and YouTube will join a growing number of games currently playable on the console screen.

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We’ve all been plagued by a long wait in a car, be it waiting in a pickup line for our kids or for a friend to complete an errand. We’re accustomed to passing that time on our phones or with a book. But before too long, Tesla’s Elon Musk says we’ll be able to catch up on our shows and stream…from the driver’s seat.

In a pair of tweets late last week, Musk let slip that newer Tesla models could come with the ability to stream from Netflix and YouTube to the screen in the center console, a screen that already allows for the playing of games to fill the aforementioned wait time- Fallout Shelter, chess, and a few classic Atari games included. To answer your next question: these features can only be accessed while the car is in park, allowing the steering wheel to be used as a controller. Viewing while in motion, Musk says, will only be available once self-driving cars are approved by regulators.

Even the prospect of being able to use the center console screen to watch TV while stopped may be attractive for some consumers, though Engadget concedes that the feature alone likely won’t be enough to turn previously uninterested consumers toward Tesla. Further, I wonder if there will be ways to enable audio for streaming videos that don’t require video to be enjoyed, e.g. comedy specials or long music compilations. But in any case, the timeline on Musk’s latest announced feature is unclear, so it’s hard to know when we’ll need to start worrying about its details.

And there are a number of details to include in those worries, even once self-driving cars are introduced. An “immersive, cinematic feel” like Musk is proposing could be attractive to passengers of these vehicles, but even in testing a driver is required in case of emergency or malfunction. Should that person be distracted, it could spell disaster—as was the case for a 2017 test journey, in which the test driver was distracted…by Hulu. Ideally, by the time this feature rolls out, Musk and Tesla will have addressed these challenges, paving the way for drivers to watch safely from the comfort of their driver’s seat.

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