YouTube is trying to become as brainless and painless to watch as the boob tube. In the process, the Web's leading video site hopes to learn enough about its viewers to replace their remote controls.
Those ambitions came into sharper focus Wednesday with debut of a YouTube format called "Leanback." The feature picks out high-definition clips most likely to command a person's attention and then automatically serve up one video after another.
YouTube hopes Leanback viewers will feel like they are watching television if they don't need to search the website for another clip every few minutes.
As it learns more about viewers' preferences, YouTube believes coach potatoes won't even need a remote control because Leanback will do all the work for them.