(Credit: Nintendo)

Since the Nintendo Switch launched in March 2017 at $300, it's been a blockbuster seller for the company, racking up close to 23 million customers, who've bought well over 100 million games. But despite its stellar results, there have been some complaints about the streaming services available on the device. Or rather, the dearth of them.

So far, Hulu has been the only streaming service available in North America on the Switch, leaving Netflix, Amazon, and others out in the cold. Its 6.2-inch 720p screen is very capable for both gaming and streaming, so users have been itching for more things to do with it.

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The good news is that Nintendo has finally answered the call and added some competition in the form of YouTube. Notably, the overwhelming bulk of YouTube's content is available for free, whereas Hulu requires a subscription and a separate account login process.

As such, YouTube (Android, iOS) should substantially increase the device's appeal as it heads into a holiday season where nominal competitors like the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One remain steady sellers with equally splashy ad campaigns.

One of YouTube's other perks is the ability to cast its videos from your phone to a nearby streaming box, but we haven't been able to detect such a feature for the Switch version. While the Switch is a handheld game console, it also comes with a dock that lets you park it in front of a TV and play on the bigger display in 1080p, when supported by the game.

But after a chat with Nintendo customer service, we determined that the Switch doesn't have a casting feature for YouTube -- at least not yet. On the bright side, Switches have an increasingly rare headphone jack, so when you're on-the-go, you can at least watch YouTube videos without having to brave the fearsome struggle known as Bluetooth pairing.

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The look and feel of the YouTube app is exactly that of the version you see on a streaming box like the Roku or Apple TV, rather than the app for Android or iOS, which makes its lack of casting that much more noticeable. On the other hand, you can cast YouTube in so many other ways (including an app built into the TV itself) that it may not be a big deal to most users.

Either way, you can still dock your Switch and navigate YouTube on the device with a gamepad, so couch-oriented customers aren't out of luck. Just be aware that you can't do voice searches, either, so you'll have to tap everything one letter at a time on a virtual keyboard, though the chore is alleviated somewhat by YouTube's ability to search as you type.


  • The Nintendo Switch game console now has a YouTube app, giving users access to a huge library of free videos.
  • The only other streaming service on the Switch in North America is Hulu, which charges a subscription.
  • The Switch version of YouTube doesn't appear to have a casting function, but you can navigate the app with a gamepad if you're watching on the couch while the Switch is docked with your TV.

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Tom McNamara is a Senior Editor for CNET's Download.com. He mainly covers Windows, mobile and desktop security, games, Google, streaming services, and social media. Tom was also an editor at Maximum PC and IGN, and his work has appeared on CNET, PC Gamer, MSN.com, and Salon.com. He's also unreasonably proud that he's kept the same phone for more than two years.