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YouTube TV Is Updating Live Guide And Library — Here’s What To Expect

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YouTube TV is now in the process of rolling out an update to its Live and Library sections. In reality, the changes are not massive, but they are designed to improve the user experience in subtle ways. As YouTube also explains, the refinements help with YouTube TV’s wider goal of creating a live TV service that’s made for the viewer, one that delivers “a delightful, easy to use, and modern TV experience.”

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The live guide and library sections are two of the most important areas for most homes. After all, the guide and its live TV channels are the main reason why someone signs up to a live TV service in the first place. The DVR, or Library in YouTube TV’s case, is one of the main benefits of streaming live TV, and something that has always been of particular importance to YouTube TV.

In its latest announcement, YouTube TV explained how “Live and Library are the most used pages by YouTube TV watchers” and how the service is now in the process of rolling out a redesign to both sections of the app. At present, the new-look Live and Library are only rolling out to smart TVs with the YouTube TV app installed. However, similar changes are expected to roll out to other platforms and devices in due course.

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YouTube also explained that these are just some of the changes coming to YouTube TV. Additional updates “with minimal disruption to our viewers” will become available in the future, according to YouTube. These include “more flexibility and interactivity during live playback” and easier switching between user profiles.

In terms of the Guide changes, some subscribers may have already noticed the new design when using YouTube TV on their smart TV. Officially, the new-look guide is designed to offer a simplified user experience with curated recommendations above the main grid and more key information in general.

YouTube TV new live TV guide
New Live guide (Image: YouTube)

Speaking of which, the main live guide grid is now more compact, a change that’s designed to show more information on the screen at once, and without the need for any additional scrolling.

In reality, the Guide section is still a guide section, so the changes are not quite as noticeable as with the Library section. For example, YouTube TV has now done away with the DVR’s side menu.

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Instead, the new-look Library section focuses much more on the use of tags. Anyone already familiar with YouTube TV will also be used to the horizontal tags row that YouTube uses for exploration and refinement. In exactly the same way as a user might narrow down content to watch on the home page, they will now narrow down content stored in the library.

As an example, instead of clicking on the New In Your Library section to see the latest recordings, the subscriber will need to click on the Recently Recorded tag to filter the library results.

YouTube TV DVR
Old Library with side menu

Another notable change to the library section is the addition of a new Catch Up On Your Favorites section at the top of the Library page. Similar to how YouTube TV prioritizes recommendations at the top of the Home and Live sections, the Library section will also now prioritize certain content over others. Specifically, content that YouTube TV thinks the user wants to see more than others.

YouTube TV new library
New Library with Favorites and tags (Image: YouTube)

These changes are very much designed with the traditional TV viewing experience in mind. So while it should be expected that devices like streaming players will eventually get many of the same changes, other devices might not. For example, the YouTube TV mobile app may or may not adopt similar changes, based on what works best for the smaller screen user experience.

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John Finn

By John Finn

John started Streaming Better to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been editing and writing about technology and streaming for online publications since 2014, and believes the best streaming approach is to rotate between services as needed.

John's preferred live TV streaming service right now is YouTube TV although he does tend to switch live TV services multiple times each year to keep up to date with their changes. Outside of live TV, John also actively streams HBO Max (for the shows), Peacock (for Premier League), and Paramount Plus (for Champion's League). However, John is also currently subscribed to Apple TV+, Discovery+, Hulu, Starz, Showtime, and Shudder.

Contact John via email at john@streamingbetter.com or say hi on Twitter

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