Netflix, YouTube and What's Next

Netflix, YouTube and What's Next

As many of you likely read, Elon made comments about YouTube and Netflix coming to Teslas in a Fall release. There are multiple articles; just Google "tesla youtube netflix") Here's a link to one...

That'd be an interesting move. From where I sit, Arcade and Netflix+YouTube are steps toward a Tesla App Store. Personally, I'm interested in how Tesla evolves along these lines and structures the interface around this growing functionality. (I wrote about that here:

Perhaps more interesting and fun, though... What apps or functionality would be most meaningful to you? | 28/07/2019

Video while parked has been a popular feature people have voted on since 2013:

Not sure a Tesla store app is ideal - it implies Tesla would charge for each app. Best to just include them with the car! We all love free, and it's a lot less work to just provide an app than create an entire store with payments and an entire app management eco system. A store might allow third party apps, but then Tesla would need to vet each app, which could be a hassle for Tesla. I'm not anti-store, but I suspect it will not happen. | 28/07/2019

With video support, hopefully it will extend to cloud dashcam storage and in-car dashcam playback.

EVRider | 28/07/2019

It isn’t clear to me if support for YouTube and Netflix will be via the browser or dedicated apps. Has Elon said these will be apps?

nukequazar | 28/07/2019

@EVRider, I was assuming browser login but it could mean apps. Not sure why they don't just unblock streaming video when the car is n park. Seams like a simple solution that would make people very happy.

blakamp | 28/07/2019

Yes, that's a good point on browser vs. app, but the real key is where they're exposed in the UI.

You can have browser-based apps... On many smart TVs, things like CBS, AMC, etc appear as apps, even though they are just advanced HTML5 experiences.

It'll be interesting to see if those are executed in browser or as a native app. Notably, on TVs, YouTube and Netflix have pushed native applications, to maximize user experience by taking advantage of pre-loading and caching and minimizing perceptual latency.

One other item for consideration is who supplies the data to feed those and under what terms.

blakamp | 28/07/2019

By the way, a couple 3rd party integrations or apps that I think it'd be cool/powerful to see available in parked mode... SpotHero. Skype (even w/o video). Slack. Salesforce. Medium, Twitter.

nukequazar | 28/07/2019

I, for one, can't really imagine a scenario where I would ever pay for an app that I would only ever use in the car. I am too invested in the Apple ecosystem which I can access anytime, anywhere, synced on any of my devices; phone, desktop, laptop, iPad, Watch, Apple TV, etc. It just wouldn't make sense for me to pay for access for those rare occasions when I am waiting in my car. I can just use my phone or tether from my phone to my laptop which is what I do for extended SC sessions. Tesla-centric infotainment would push me to move to an Apple car or back to BMW when they have a great EV with Apple integration. I LOVE my P100D but I won't sacrifice the overall life experience forever just to support Tesla.

blakamp | 28/07/2019

Agree with the sentiment that users won't generally sacrifice relationships that span many facets of their life, for a dedicated Tesla look-alike service. (at least at this point.) That's why I discount something like Tesla Tunes, as suggested on other threads. I don't think people will embrace (pay for) a Tesla-only music service that disregards the music relationship users have already built with Spotify et al everywhere else in their life.

I do think there are a lot of cloud services (that users use across a bevy of other platforms ) that might be exposed through Tesla interfaces via app or browser that authenticate into that cloud service. Netflix and YouTube are good examples.

I also think that people might pay more for extra data/bandwidth in a Tesla to make those experiences better, though I'd prefer to be able to leverage my phone as the data supply source.

stevenmaifert | 28/07/2019

While they are at it, why not add mirror and HD video file play from a flash drive. No need for a WiFi connection. The BMW M5 can do both of those.

quinney | 28/07/2019

I think Elon said that Tesla would make wi-fi available at superchargers. That sounds to me like another expense and complication that Tesla could do without. I'd rather that they make a modification to the interior (glovebox maybe) to allow convenient installation of a 4g or 5g hotspot and let owners pay for their own data if they so desire.

rxlawdude | 28/07/2019

"Tesla-centric infotainment would push me to move to an Apple car or back to BMW..."

Highly logical. Move from the most technological and viable EV technology to a unicorn or failed vision legacy.

Over entertainment.


nukequazar | 28/07/2019

@rxlawdude, dude, I'm not dumb. I said "infotainment" not entertainment (meaning, most importantly, access to our digital data/life, as I couldn't care less about Netflix, Youtube, or MLB), and I said "when they have a great EV." Tesla is not going to be the only game in town forever. BMW will make an awesome car that happens to be an EV at some point, and if Apple ever makes a car it will be a great piece of technology, as is their MO, they wait until they can do a really great version of something before they release it. So if, at that time, Tesla still has us hobbling along with half-baked data (infotainment) access, many people will buy a more mature EV.

jordanrichard | 28/07/2019

What I and literally thousands of owners would like to know is, will this be for ALL Teslas or just MCU2 cars? Myself and one other person asked Elon this via Twitter, but no response.

Yodrak. | 28/07/2019

Meh. It's a car, not my home media room.

NKYTA | 28/07/2019


jordanrichard | 29/07/2019

Yodrak, agreed but just look at the commercials or the emphasis luxury brands put on their stereo systems.

blakamp | 29/07/2019

Right. Point taken, but I'd second @jordanriachard 's point above and make a couple additional points.

1) People used to say something akin to "It's a phone, not a PC."

2) All these additions drive value for and fascination by kids, who are bigger drivers of satisfaction and platform virality than some may assume.

3) It's not about becoming your home media room, but about maximizing the value of the car in scenarios when drivers/passengers have free time... waiting while parked and at SuperChargers to start, and then ultimately in autonomous scenarios.

For #3, it's important for Tesla to carve out and own increasingly sophisticated "utility" to its platform, beyond the traditional automotive / transportation experience. | 29/07/2019

It's another nice differentiator that other legacy automakers seem clueless. Watching a movie on a 7-9" low-resolution screen that most premium cars offer vs. a 15-17" HD screen is another huge win for Tesla. Yes, the competition may in 10 years offer what Tesla has shown 10 years ago, but so far there are few indications they can or want to offer anything competitive with Tesla.

SamO | 29/07/2019

Wait a minute TT. You mean not every automaker gets a participation trophy?

Maybe they will figure out how to do a mobile software update to include changing a 7” screen to 15” high def.

;-) | 29/07/2019

@SamO - Now that would be a trick :)

andy.connor.e | 29/07/2019

I think Google is going to have problems with their search result censoring.

BlueStreakNW | 29/07/2019

I would love to see Spotify!!!! Not completely fond of the streaming service that came with the car...

rxlawdude | 29/07/2019

"So if, at that time, Tesla still has us hobbling along with half-baked data (infotainment) access, many people will buy a more mature EV."

But for the word IF. IF a bull had teats, it would be a cow. But for the word IF.

andy.connor.e | 29/07/2019

IF the situation was exactly what aligns with my opinion, then i'd be right.

Nazrat414 | 29/07/2019

At the risk of beating a very tired horse and absorbing a forum beating for beating said horse, if one currently does not have Premium Connectivity (Model 3, in this case...) it appears there is no indication the "$100 per year" subscription fee is any closer to becoming reality. Are other model owners (S, X...) given a renewal option if their premium subscription runs out? Wondering why it seems so difficult to enable that option for M3's when so many seem willing to pay. Of course, Tesla has a lot of higher priority demands on their plate though this one seems guaranteed to generate revenue. | 29/07/2019

@Nazrat414 - There are no renewal options yet for S/X. They continue to be free no matter how long you've had the car. A few S owners have now had free connectivity for a little over 7 years now.

My guess is paid connectivity is a low priority project. They have hotter projects to complete first, and I suspect it really doesn't cost Tesla that much. They'll get to it someday, but I can see how it's annoying to those that do not have connectivity now and are willing to pay for it.

blakamp | 29/07/2019 ...In your first comment, you assert that an App Store implies Tesla would charge for each app. I'd challenge that. While it might do so, the bulk of the apps that I use on a smartphone or smart TV are free. Why would Tesla necessarily have a different model?

On a separate note, I'll add that, assuming Tesla continues adding capabilities, it's going to need to deal with menu structure and hierarchy, which I tend to think needs to be addressed anyway. There's currently Calendar, Web (browser), Toybox and Arcade. Now add Netflix and YouTube somewhere. It's trending toward messy and confusing. Personally, I'd think about collapsing serval of those into Apps with notion of Favorites and Store.

Yodrak. | 29/07/2019

"waiting while parked and at SuperChargers"

I thought Tesla was working to reduce that time with new, faster, superchargers?

Anyway, as long as YouTube and Netflix cannot be watched while the car is moving. Don't we have enough bad press and potential lawsuits about features that drivers misuse and kill themselves? | 30/07/2019

@blakamp - Makes sense to offer more free apps. Perhaps only from Tesla (for security reasons), or perhaps available from developers if properly firewalled. Time will tell which way Tesla may go!

@Yodrak - Perhaps Tesla will offer a high-speed movie mode. If you need to Supercharger for 25 minutes, the 1.5 hour movie is compressed to just 25 minutes :) The alternative is auto-bookmarks as Netflix currently offers.

blakamp | 30/07/2019

@yodrok Point was not really one about Superchargers; it was about adding value to any idle time in a Tesla... while parked (at the store, picking up the kids, SuperCharging, anywhere) or eventually when riding in autonomous mode.

@telsatap Exactly. It’ll be interesting to see how Tesla plays that out. I believe Beach Buggy is 3rd party developed. I’d wager Netflix and YouTube will be as well, though they could be HTML5 apps. As you say, time will tell. | 30/07/2019

I think Elon, in last 30 days, stated all the games are all purchased or open source. They don't write them and Tesla only has 2 engineers working on integrating the games.

bp | 31/07/2019

Supporting 3rd party apps running on the MCU introduces a major security risk, even if Tesla believes they have structured their software to isolate those apps from the rest of the vehicle.

Adapting a few arcade games originally developed for gaming platforms or adding video streaming can probably be done with minimal risk, especially when that functionality is limited in operation only when the vehicle is parked.

Providing a secure environment in which arbitrary 3rd party apps can run is significantly more complicated than what Tesla is doing with a few arcade games & video streaming - and while Tesla has promised an App store since before the Model S went into production, with Tesla's continuing resource constraints, it seems unlikely we'll see a 3rd party app store any time soon.

And if they do, it seems more likely it would be through screen mirroring of smartphone apps (which has very limited access to the MCU) than Tesla allowing 3rd party developers to implement software on the MCU.

blakamp | 31/07/2019


Yes, security is a key consideration. I'm not deeply versed in details of how Tesla has integrated existing 3rd party services and software (games, TuneIn, Slacker, Spotify, SiriusXM, maps), but they've obviously put down some rail and made some decisions. (@TT thanks for your clarification.)

I'm curious to see how Netflix and YouTube are integrated... In other environments like smart TVs, both have been oriented toward integrating native OS apps (over a pure browser implementation) to maximize the experience via things like smart caching and to implement DRM securely.

If Tesla pushes both to browser, I'll be interested to see how snappy they feel. If Tesla allows native apps, it has consequences around security, as you note above. | 31/07/2019

We also don't know if Netflix, etc. will be a MCU2 only feature. I fear it may be, but will be great if all cars support it.

blue adept | 01/08/2019

As I've discussed previously Tesla is developing its own, proprietary streaming platform which is slated for introduction sometime in the near future (I'm guessing) and is releasing "Chess" as the next in-car arcade app:

SCCRENDO | 01/08/2019

You guys are missing the point. When Tesla goes to full self drive what is the driver going to do while traveling.

blue adept | 01/08/2019

That IS the point, i.e., once full autonomy is realized the possibilities of available entertainment options are limitless and/or limited only by available processor capacity (which might result in a small price increase if customer demand indicates the desire for more than the current chip architecture can manage).

blue adept | 01/08/2019

Possibly even a lot of 'Netflix and chill' action too, @SCCRENDO.


blue adept | 01/08/2019

PLEASE tint your windows.

andy.connor.e | 01/08/2019

When FSD becomes reality, you might as well buy 2 or 3 Tesla's and have them be your passive income.

blue adept | 01/08/2019

A smart business strategy, though you'd also have to retain certain licensure and insurance for your little side hustle.

andy.connor.e | 01/08/2019

Start an LLC business and get Tesla insurance. Whats next?

blue adept | 01/08/2019

Obtaining a Class B or D (depending on the type and weight of vehicle) chauffeur's license and associated insurance as well as meeting whatever state regulations for use of FSD approved vehicles I would imagine.

TabascoGuy | 01/08/2019

Why would you need a chauffeur's license if the car was driving itself?

blue adept | 01/08/2019

To validate the car's use as a passenger service vehicle..."?"

TabascoGuy | 01/08/2019

Maybe. We may need to request "birth certificates" from Tesla in order to put the car's name on the license...

andy.connor.e | 01/08/2019

But you're not even driving it. Shouldnt need more than class D. Model 3 is a Mid-sized sedan.

blue adept | 01/08/2019




blue adept | 01/08/2019


I really haven't a clue and am only 'spit-balling' it here based on what I've heard from public transit workers (i.e.,cab drivers when they're whining about all that they have to put up with just to operate a cab) just to offer up some content for furthering the discussion.

andy.connor.e | 01/08/2019

I am looking into it. Need Tesla to release more details about the ride sharing network tho