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How to Get More Out of the YouTube TV App

Nancy Messieh 22-02-2017

There are tons of ways to get the most out of YouTube, whether you’re visiting through the Chrome 7 Chrome Extensions to Make YouTube Awesome YouTube is the king of video services, but not everything about it is perfect. However, there are some awesome Google Chrome extensions to fix these common annoyances once and for all. Read More  browser, on your iPad How to Get More Out of YouTube on Your iPad While Google's official YouTube app offers a really solid video experience on the iPad, there are a few key features missing that you may be able to find elsewhere. Read More , and even on your TV. The YouTube TV App is designed with smart TV viewers in mind, but with a few tips and tricks, you can squeeze even more out of it.

What Do You Get With the YouTube TV App?

When using YouTube on your TV, you get a pared down, TV-friendly interface with handy categories, access to your subscriptions, playlists, watch history, and easy access to live TV. The categories included are: Recommended, Music, Food, Beauty, Trending, Comedy, Entertainment, News, Sports, Technology, Live, Gaming, and Family.

The interface makes it easy to find content that fits neatly into these categories, as well as recommended content. If you find that they aren’t accurate, you can reset your YouTube recommendations Sick of Irrelevant YouTube Recommendations? Here's What You Need to Do YouTube's recommendations may start suggesting weird videos unrelated to your interests. Here's what you can do to fix them. Read More .

See What’s Live Right Now

One of the really handy features in YouTube’s TV app is the ability to see what’s live right now. Live videos are one of the thirteen categories at the top of the page. The Live tab is divided into categories: news, technology, animals, mobile live streams, sports, and gaming. You can also see a list of recent and upcoming live streams.

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This feature is particularly useful when there’s a large public event that you know is going to be live-streamed on YouTube. If there are multiple live-streams of the event, you’ll often find them featured under the Live category.

Watch Live News

While we’re on the topic of live content, you’ll find several news channels listed under the Live tab on the YouTube TV app, which you can watch for free. This is yet another reason to consider ditching cable Should You Cut the Cord or Keep Your Cable TV? If you're still holding on to your cable subscription, but are debating if its time to make a change, we're here to help. This guide should help you make your mind up. Read More in favor of online entertainment since most of your needs can be met for free, or at a much lower price. News channels listed under the Live tab in the YouTube TV app include Al Jazeera English, Sky News, and Bloomberg. Other news services that you can stream live on YouTube for free include BBC News, CNN, and MSNBC.

And of course, many local news channels also stream live on YouTube, and you can add them to your subscription list for easy TV viewing.

Watch Endless Related Content

When you play a video in the YouTube app, if you leave it playing, related videos will continue to play, essentially offering viewers an on-the-fly playlist. This is a great way to discover additional content that you might not have otherwise seen.

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Just be forewarned, if you hit the Back button or stop the video from playing, you won’t be able to resume the related content you were watching, which can be a little annoying.

On the flipside, if you’re not a fan of autoplay, or find that it sends you down a rabbit hole of YouTube videos you never planned on watching, you can always switch off the setting. Go to Settings and uncheck Autoplay.

Access the Interface on Your Computer

Even if you don’t have access to YouTube on your TV, you can actually use this interface on your computer with the web app YouTube on TV. This interface is identical to the one you’ll get on your TV, even down to the sound effects as you scroll through videos and categories.

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The interface can be a little glitchy, but it definitely helps to use arrow keys to move around the screen and also use the following keyboard shortcuts:

  • S — Opens search page
  • G — Open menu
  • Esc — Go back

Create a Family Account

If more than one person keeps up with YouTube on your TV, you might want to consider creating one family account. Unfortunately, the YouTube app doesn’t make it easy to switch between accounts so creating a TV or family account means that other people’s viewing habits won’t mess up your personal YouTube experience. Each family member can add their subscriptions, and the TV account can become a mix of each person’s interests.

Search on Your Computer, Watch on Your TV

Let’s admit it. The search function in the YouTube TV app is not great. Rather than scroll through the onscreen keyboard, you can use your phone or computer to search for videos and then beam videos to your TV. This, of course, will require that you have a supported device or TV. These include:

  • Chromecast
  • Smart TVs with the YouTube app
  • Android TV
  • Google TV
  • Roku
  • Playstation 3 and Playstation 4
  • Xbox 360 and Xbox One
  • Wii U
  • Blu-ray Disc Player with the YouTube app installed
  • All set-top boxes or cable boxes with the YouTube app installed

If you search for videos on your computer or phone, you can also take advantage of YouTube’s advanced search operators, which don’t work very well on the TV app.

For example, searching for “beyonce, playlist” will return search results including only playlists. Digital Inspiration’s Amit Agarwal has put together an extensive list of search operators you can use on YouTube.

You can find out more about pairing your TV with your phone or computer in the video below:

Create YouTube Playlists

This may seem like a no-brainer, but YouTube playlists will come in really handy when using the YouTube TV app. Accessible from the menu, under Library, you can view playlists that you can easily create on your computer. If you’re using a family account, this also means that each family member can create tailored playlists just for them.

What’s Missing From the YouTube TV App?

There are definitely a few things lacking when it comes to the YouTube TV experience. Chief among these are support for multiple accounts and a more robust search function.

Until those features are added by YouTube, you can get around this by using a shared account, and by taking advantage of YouTube’s ability to connect your phone or computer to your TV.

Changed your mind about YouTube TV? Here’s how to unsubscribe from YouTube TV How to Cancel YouTube TV If you're finding that the monthly price isn't worth it for what you're watching, here's how to cancel YouTube TV. Read More .

Image Credits: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Related topics: Online Video, Smart TV, Television, YouTube.

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  1. Ari
    January 2, 2019 at 2:24 am

    Is it possible to quickly toggle between two channels (with one click like a "last button")?

  2. Ian
    July 25, 2017 at 9:49 am

    Great info, but is it possible to read the comments posted on videos? I can't see how to do it on my Samsumg smart tv.
    Is it indeed possible?

    • Stefan
      January 4, 2018 at 8:31 am

      No, it isn't possible. I have the same problem on my LG Smart TV.

  3. Amiaba
    June 22, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    I have a smart TV with the YouTube app. On the TV app I can access the playlist I created - I created these on my PC. On my PC I can enter a playlist and chooze one item from the playlist to view. However the TV app doesn't appear to have this option: I have to view the first 45 minute documentary to get to the second etc. Am I right that I can only view the whole playlist from my TV app as opposed to choose a single item from a playlist to view?

  4. Bryan Wolfe
    February 28, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    I'm always looking for new ways to use YouTube. Great article.

  5. Rob C.
    February 22, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    Great stuff, thank you for taking the time to put this together. Very well done. I have never gone to YouTube on my TV so this opens up a whole new world for me.

    • Nancy Messieh
      February 23, 2017 at 7:31 pm

      Thanks Rob! It's really a great way to watch YouTube videos.