Saturday, June 15, 2024

10 incredibly useful YouTube TV tips and tricks

Key Takeaways

  • Did you know, with YouTube TV, you get unlimited DVR space? It lets you keep recordings as long as nine months.
  • You can also store your favorite sports teams and leagues for unlimited game recordings.
  • Here are my tips and tricks to YouTube TV. I’ve rounded up the top features you absolutely need to try.

YouTube TV is one of the best alternatives to cable currently available. Offering a trove of channels, and practically unlimited DVR space, there is a lot to love about YouTube’s cable alternative.

However, there is more to love about YouTube TV than you might expect. With some extra features, you can get the most bang for your buck out of YouTube TV, and take your TV-watching experience to the next level.


YouTube TV

Simultaneous streams

# of profiles

Live TV

Starts at $72.99/month

Free trial
Yes, length varies

1 Add shows and movies to your library

Don’t sweat running out of DVR space


One of the worst parts of the cable or yore was worrying about DVR space. Whether it was running out of room for the next episode of your favorite show, or finally having to delete an airing of one of your favorite movies, DVR space could quickly become an enormous pain.

With YouTube TV’s library functionality, you can add your favorite shows and movies to your library, and YouTube TV will automatically store recordings for you. The best part is, it’s practically unlimited. You can record as many shows or movies as you want without worrying about erasing something else or running out of space in the middle of an episode.

One caveat is that while there is no space limit, there is a strict nine-month time limit. After nine months, shows and movies will be deleted from your library. However, if a movie or show re-runs in that time frame, YouTube TV will automatically restart that counter with the most recent airing.

Adding shows or movies to your library is as easy as clicking the “+” button in the YouTube TV interface. It can be clicked from the progress bar of a movie or a show, or from a show or movie’s larger description.


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2 Add your favorite teams and leagues to your library

Keeping up with your favorite sports has never been easier


In addition to shows and movies, you can also add your favorite sports teams to your library to automatically record all games. You’re also able to add entire sports leagues to your library for recording every game within any given sport.

Recordings of sports games do still come with a nine-month time limit, but you are still able to record as many games as you want without limitation. Clogging up your DVR with an entire season’s worth of football games is officially a thing of the past.


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3 Pause your subscription

Just because you have it for one sport doesn’t mean you need to lose your library


For many, YouTube TV is a great way to keep up with their preferred sport without having to pay for traditional cable and deal with a costly installation. However, YouTube TV can still be a huge expense if you’re only using it for a few months out of the year. At $72.99/month, YouTube TV isn’t exactly cheap.

But you might not want to cancel and lose all the recorded media in your library. Thankfully, there is a solution to save your wallet and hold onto your library. Rather than canceling your subscription, you can choose to pause your YouTube TV subscription for up to six months. While paused, you won’t be billed for your subscription, but your library will stay intact until your subscription reactivates.

Pausing your YouTube TV Membership is easy enough, and can save you well over a hundred dollars in the long run.

  1. Go to the YouTube TV website.
  2. Click your Google profile picture, and select settings.
  3. Click the
  4. Select
    Pause Membership.
  5. Select the length of time you’d like to pause your subscription.

Once paused, you won’t be billed until the day you selected for your subscription to reactivate. You can also unpause your subscription early by heading to the same menu that you paused it from.


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4 Hide game scores

Don’t sweat getting games spoiled by your DVR

YouTube TV with the NHL pulled up.

YouTube / Pocket-lint

There’s nothing worse than taping a game you’ve been looking forward to, managing to dodge any spoilers for the game all day, only to come home and have your TV tell you the final score before you can even watch the game. Thankfully, YouTube TV has a built-in solution for this very issue.

On YouTube TV, you can go into any sports league or team you wish, and have your TV hide game scores from you for every game in that league or every game that specific team plays. Thankfully, it isn’t too difficult to do either.

On your phone, computer, or TV, simply find the team or league you wish to hide the scores for, select that league or team, and click on “Hide all scores.” Just like that, you’ll no longer have to worry about having a game spoiled for you at the eleventh hour. At least not by your TV, anyway.


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5 Reorganize your channel list

See your channels listed in a more useful order


No matter why you subscribed to YouTube TV in the first place, there’s a pretty good chance that there are some channels you tune into almost every day, and channels you never have and will never flick to. It’s the classic issue of too many channels. However, with YouTube TV, you can put your least-watched channels out of sight and out of mind.

When looking at the live channel guide, you have a few options for how you can sort the long list of channels offered by YouTube TV. You can choose the default order, as well as an alphabetical, and reverse-alphabetical order. Best of all, you can have your list automatically sorted by what you watch the most so that channels you never touch automatically go to the bottom of your list. Sorting options can be found at the top of the live guide on your TV, or in the top-right-hand corner of the live guide on mobile.


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6 Create a custom channel order

Hide the channels you know you’ll never watch


Sometimes, an automatic channel listing just isn’t going to cut it. You might want something more specific that no automatic sorting function will ever be able to capture. This is where the “custom” sorting option comes into play.

When selecting how you want your live guide sorted, you can also select “custom.” When selecting custom, you’ll also have the option to edit your channel list, from which point you can organize your channel listing as you see fit. You can even choose to leave certain channels off of your list to never see them again.


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7 Check out movies and shows on demand

YouTube TV isn’t all live TV


Though YouTube TV is primarily a live TV service, there’s actually a wealthy on-demand library to browse through on the service. You can browse these on-demand movies and shows from the service’s home page, or you can search for titles to see if they’re available on-demand.

Unfortunately, watching an on-demand movie or show won’t quite be the same as watching something from your library. Whatever you choose to watch will have ad breaks sprinkled throughout, and they will be unskippable. On top of the movies that come free with ads alongside your base subscription to YouTube TV, there’s also a large library of movies available for digital purchase and rental.


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8 Check out the add-ons

YouTube TV has a lot of add-ons to offer, it might just have one for you


As with any traditional cable TV service, YouTube TV has a large variety of add-ons to browse through and add to your YouTube TV subscription. These range from additional channels, premium channels, 4k viewing, and sports passes.

For most, these add-ons will probably never get touched. But there are some, however, that may find a very valuable extra layer to the YouTube TV experience through these add-ons. For sports fans, this could mean subscribing to the NBA League Pass. For those that want streamlined access to premium services such as Starz and HBO, those can be added to YouTube TV as channels with on-demand content.


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9 Keep up with channel flipping and split-views

For those that never want to miss a second of the action

YouTube multiview

YouTube TV

If you’re a live sports viewer, there’s probably at least been a time or two where there have been a couple of games on you want to watch, but you don’t want to watch either after the fact. What do you do? You press the previous channel button on your remote so many times over the course of a few hours that it almost falls out of your remote. Thankfully, YouTube TV will let you keep this tradition alive.

Rather than having to scroll through your live guide to find whatever other channel you want to flip to, you can simply hold down the “OK” or “Select” button on your TV remote for a few seconds to be returned to the last channel you were viewing. For those that don’t have access to this feature via a remote, the last channel you were watching should always appear as your first suggestion beneath the progress bar of what you’re currently watching.

Alternative to channel flipping, you can check out a split-view. YouTube TV offers split-views for certain game days and types of channels that allow you to view multiple feeds at once while selecting which one is actually playing audio. If there are four football games on in one night, you can have them all on-screen while prioritizing audio for whichever one you care to watch most. If you like to never miss a moment of live action, these features will help you stay on top of everything.


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10 Dig into the nerdy side

A simple function carried over from YouTube


One of the things that makes YouTube TV so fantastic to use is that YouTube had a pretty sizable head start to the game of providing a solid online viewing experience. Although there is a lot of YouTube’s DNA that runs through YouTube TV, one function you might not have expected to see is the Stats for Nerds button.

The button offers various, as advertised, nerdy stats about the broadcast you’re currently viewing. Though the feature isn’t something that will be appealing to every YouTube TV user, what matters is that it exists for those who want the insight.


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