YouTube TV does include ads. When watching YouTube TV’s live channels, subscribers are watching a live broadcast. Due to this, the ads shown on YouTube TV can’t be skipped. In this sense, YouTube TV is not any different to watching live TV with a traditional cable or satellite package.
YouTube TV subscribers can typically pause live TV and this can make a difference. Once paused, the live channel continues as normal while the subscriber is on a delay. When playback resumes, the subscriber is able to fast forward to catch back up with the actual live feed. Depending on how long the pause is for, this can be a way to skip ads when watching live TV.
While it makes sense for live TV channels to include ads, watching live is only part of the YouTube TV experience. Unfortunately, ads are often seen in other areas too. Although ads can’t be skipped when watching live, they can be skipped elsewhere – some of the time.
Ads when watching on demand
Besides live TV, YouTube TV also offers subscribers the option to watch videos on demand. Considering on demand content is not shown live, it makes sense that the ads can be avoided. However, that’s not typically the case.
Although on demand is not a live broadcast, it is also not a copy of the broadcast like recordings are. Instead, on demand videos have been made available by the channel or network. This also means traditional ads are not included. However, that doesn’t mean there are no ads at all. With on demand content, channels will still include ads, albeit ones that are different to the usual ads experienced when watching live.
For example, when watching on demand, ads are injected into the video. Subscribers can easily identify the difference as, unlike traditional live TV ads, video on-demand ads on YouTube TV come with a yellow “Ad” icon in the corner of the screen along with a progress bar indicating how long remains. As these are added to the video and not part of the broadcast, these ads also typically cannot be skipped. On the positive side, subscribers tend to have an indicator of how long the ads are.
Ads when watching DVR recordings
When it comes to DVR recordings, things are a little more complicated. The good news, YouTube TV allows subscribers to skip ads when watching recordings. Similar to how pausing a live TV channel creates a delay where the user can fast forward through the commercials, the same can be done when watching recordings. In fact, as the original broadcast has ended, the subscriber is free to forward through all of the ads without worrying about catching up.
That’s the good news. The bad news, YouTube TV doesn’t always allow subscribers to skip through commercials on recordings. To be completely accurate, it is not YouTube TV choosing to stop ads from being skipped and, technically, the viewer is not actually watching a recording.
To explain, YouTube TV offers a great DVR experience where users can record as much as they want without worrying about space. However, there are limitations with YouTube TV’s DVR and one of them is the ability for networks to prohibit access to the original recording. Essentially, some networks will require YouTube TV to play an on demand version instead of the recording. As already explained, the on demand versions include ads that can’t be skipped. Therefore, when a network requires YouTube TV to prioritize the on demand version, the user will still ads that can’t be skipped.
For reference, this is the exception and not the rule, so subscribers should be able to skip the ads when watching a recording most of time. In cases where they can’t be skipped, it is due to a decision made by the network and not an error on YouTube TV’s part.
YouTube TV ads summary
Yes, YouTube TV does have ads and in most cases they cannot be skipped. As ads are shown live when watching live channels, there’s nowhere to skip forward to. However, subscribers can always pause a live broadcast to create a delay and then use that time to fast forward through the commercials. In addition, YouTube TV subscribers should also expect to see ads when watching on demand content. These ads are different to the ads shown during live broadcasts and are usually labelled. Once again, these ads typically cannot be skipped.
When it comes to recordings, YouTube TV subscribers will be able to fast forward through the ads. The main exception is when networks require YouTube TV to play the on demand version instead of the recording. When this happens, ads that can’t be skipped will be shown on YouTube TV.
Read more: Can You Cancel A YouTube TV Free Trial?