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How YouTube TV’s On-Demand Works (And How To Find Videos)

YouTube TV includes a variety of on-demand shows and movies for subscribers to watch, but finding the videos is not as easy as it could be.

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YouTube TV includes a variety of on-demand shows and movies for subscribers to watch at no additional cost. Although YouTube TV is primarily a live TV streaming service, it also provides additional features and benefits including an extensive selection of on-demand content. However, finding on-demand videos can be a little confusing at times.

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A standard YouTube TV subscription costs $64.99 per month. For that monthly price, subscribers gain access to more than 85 live TV channels. The exact number of channels included will vary by location due to the nature and availability of local channels. In general, the channel lineup does provide a good mixture of news, sports, entertainment and more.

The channels included with a subscription are super important here, as YouTube TV’s on-demand section is based on the available channels. Shows and movies from networks that are not included with a subscription won’t be available to watch through YouTube TV. For videos that are available to watch on-demand, subscribers will still ads. These ads are automatically inserted into the videos making them different to the commercials shown when watching recordings. As these ads are inserted, this also does typically mean that commercials shown while watching an on-demand video cannot be skipped.

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The exact number of on-demand titles available through YouTube TV isn’t clear and tends to vary over time. However, the selection of shows, movies and other on-demand videos is substantial enough, and subscribers should find there’s plenty to watch at any given time. In addition, subscribers will often find that the latest episodes from popular shows are available to watch on-demand after they’ve been shown live. That said, finding on-demand content is not as straightforward as it could be.

Finding on-demand shows and movies

YouTube TV doesn’t actually have a dedicated on-demand section. While the service is available as an app on various smart TVs, streaming players and devices, none of the apps, nor the YouTube TV website, come with a section where all of the available videos can be found. Instead, the interface is typically broken down into Home, Live and Library sections. However, all three of these can actually be used to find on-demand shows and movies.

The Home section is just that – an area where the subscriber will find content relevant to them. Anything that is shown here is usually available to watch and this section does include some on-demand shows and movies that YouTube TV thinks the viewer might be interested in. Although these are somewhat random suggestions, there is a search button (magnifying glass) which can be used to find specific videos.

  1. Click on the search icon
  2. Type in the name of the show/movie
  3. Click on the show/movie
  4. Select the series and episode (if a show)
  5. Click play

Compared to the Home and search options, one of the benefits of using the Live section is the quick ability to narrow down the available on-demand videos to a specific channel. Simply launch the live guide, scroll down the list and then click on the channel name. The user will then be taken to a section dedicated to that channel, which includes any on-demand shows and movies that are currently available to watch.

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The Library tab can also be used in a similar way. This section typically houses recordings by the user, but these recordings can also be used as shortcuts to on-demand content. This is particularly true for episodes. By clicking on a recorded video, the user will also be able to view episodes that weren’t recorded (yet) but are available to watch as on-demand. In fact, even when an episode (or movie) has been recorded, YouTube TV will still also offer the option to watch an on-demand version if one is available. The user can easily identify an on-demand version as they come with a small yellow “VOD” label, unlike recordings which come with a “DVR” label.

Lastly, it is worth noting that YouTube TV does also support TV Everywhere. This is a feature that allows subscribers to a service like YouTube TV to log in and access content through a channel’s own app or website. While not every YouTube TV channel includes TV Everywhere support, this can be an additional way to find on-demand videos to watch, including some which may not be available directly through the YouTube TV app or website.

YouTube TV on-demand summary

The standard YouTube TV subscription does include access to a selection of on-demand shows, movies, and programming. The exact selection of on-demand titles varies over time, but is directly related to the channels included with the plan. While recordings remain available for up to nine months, there’s no guarantee how long on-demand titles are available for and any video could be removed at any time.

Although there is plenty of on-demand shows and movies to watch, finding them is not always so easy. Subscribers can use the Home screen to find recommended on-demand videos or the search feature to find a specific show or movie. In addition, the Live section can be used to narrow on-demand content down by channel. If episodes of a show have already been recorded, or are scheduled to record, YouTube TV subscribers can also use the Library section to find on-demand episodes of the same show.

By John Finn

John started Streaming Better to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been writing about technology and TV-related services and devices since 2014 and believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingbetter.com or on Twitter

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