Everything You Need To Know About Instagram's New Video App IGTV

21 June 2018, 16:21 | Updated: 24 July 2018, 16:14

IGTV by Instagram
IGTV by Instagram. Picture: Instagram

By Josh Lee

Instagram's new video service is shaking things up

IGTV (or Instagram TV for the acronym-averse among you) is officially live! The new TV and long-form video service from Instagram brings together elements from Snapchat and YouTube, as well as it's on Instagram Stories to create an experience that Instagram says will "begin a new chapter of video" on the platform. But what exactly is IGTV, how do you use it, and can it really threaten YouTube?

IGTV from Instagram
Instagram's new video app IGTV. Picture: Instagram

What is IGTV all about?

Intagram's new TV app brings together long and short-form video from creators in one place. Unlike YouTube, it's optimised to view videos in portrait mode. And unlike Snapchat, videos on IGTV can be up to one hour in length.

How do I access IGTV?

You can access IGTV ether as a standalone app from the App Store or Google Play, or through your usual Instagram app. You'll notice that a little TV icon has appeared next to the direct message icon in the top right-hand corner on Instagram. Simply tap that and you'll be taken straight to IGVT.

How do you use it?

There are currently four tabs that help you choose what to watch: "For You," which uses algorithms to recommend videos from people outside of your following list, "Following" to view content from creators you already follow on Instagram, "Popular" which serves content that's been watched by lots of people, and "Continue watching" so you can pick up where you left off last time you used IGTV. Videos begin playing automatically - to view the full video simply tap it as it plays to remove the other categories from view. If you want to watch something else either swipe right as you would on Instagram Stories, or swipe up to bring the different categories back into view.

Take a look at this video from Tech Crunch to get an idea of how to navigate IGTV

Are there any original series' on IGTV?

Currently no, but if Instagram follows its long-standing tradition of acquiring ideas from other apps, it probably won't be long until we see original Instagram programming.

Is IGTV free to use

Yes! IGTV is free to use

Are there any YouTubers using Instagram TV?

Yes! A number of creators have already started uploading videos on there, including Zoella, The Lean Machines, King Bach, Baby Ariel, Demetrius Harmon, Eva Gutowski, Rebecca Black, Thomas Sanders and the best creator in the known universe, We The Unicorns!

Is IGTV better than YouTube?

At such an early stage it's hard to judge, but while IGTV does have some fun and interesting features, YouTube currently feels like the stronger player. For starters, viewing video in portrait feels a little unusual, and the swipe-to-switch functionality makes it a lot easier to skip videos without giving yourself a chance to get into what you're watching. That said, Facebook (who own Instagram) have powerful recommendation algorithms which will be excellent at recommending new content to you, and with Instagram's popularity rising year-on-year, IGTV will absolutely be the one to watch (no pun intended) in the coming months.