YouTube TV settings and features

YouTube TV Tips and Tricks: 15 Settings You Need to Know

If you have YouTube TV, you’re going to wish that you knew about these features sooner! 

In this article and the featured video below, I share 15 settings to help new and existing YouTube TV subscribers get the most out of the live TV streaming service.

Please note: Some settings can only be changed from your computer and/or phone, not your TV set.

1. Don’t Show Me This

The YouTube TV home screen provides recommendations that get better the more you watch.

But if there’s something that you absolutely DO NOT want to see on your home screen, select the menu (three dots) for a specific program and then Don’t show me this.

This option is available from your phone or computer. Here’s the view from a desktop:

Don't show me this option from desktop computer

This feature will remove the program from the home screen, but you’ll still be able to find it using the search function or through the live guide in case you change your mind.

2. Adjust Notifications

From the YouTube TV mobile app, select Notify and the bell icon from the program page or below the video player on the watch page.

That way, you’ll get an alert when a new live airing starts.

But if YouTube TV notifications are a problem for you, there’s a solution for that too. Go to the YouTube TV settings from your phone and click Notifications.

Here you can turn on or off notifications for recommendations, account information and product updates.

3. Customize Live Guide

YouTube TV has more than 85 channels in its base plan, but chances are you only watch maybe 10 or so of them on a regular basis.

The good news is that you can customize the live guide to see your favorites first.

From either your phone or computer, navigate to your account settings and click on Live guide from the menu to the left.

Now, you can create a custom live guide and remove or change the order of the channels. 

  • To remove a channel, uncheck it and it won’t show up
  • To reorder a channel, select it and drag it up or down

After making the changes, reopen the live guide from any device and make sure that you have the custom live guide selected — not the default one. 

I have a separate video that walks you through the process in just two minutes:

4. Record Shows

YouTube TV includes unlimited DVR storage, so why not take advantage of it and add your favorite shows, movies and live events to your library?

You can do this from any device: your phone, computer or from a TV set. 

When you select a program, look for the add button — which is the plus symbol. Then, new airings will be added to your library. 

Record shows with YouTube TV

Once you’re ready to view your recordings, navigate to the Library tab and they’ll be there. 

But here’s a tip: Select the DVR version that says Recorded, not the VOD (Video On Demand) version that says Released.

When you watch recordings, you can always fast-forward through the commercials. But many on-demand shows and movies will have unskippable ads.

That’s just another reason to add as much to your library as possible. Remember, you have unlimited DVR storage! 

Here’s a separate video tutorial that walks you through YouTube TV’s DVR.

5. Start From Beginning

If you want to join a live program in-progress and skip through the ads, you can do that as long as it’s in your library.

When you’re recording a program that’s airing live, select it and you’ll have two choices:

  • Join live
  • Start from beginning

Just remember: Add the program to your library BEFORE IT STARTS to enjoy this flexibility and skip those commercials! 

6. Mark as Watched

The unique thing about YouTube TV’s DVR is that it’s all or nothing for most programming.

For example, let’s say that I set a recording for House Hunters. That means YouTube TV is going to record every episode that airs, new AND reruns. 

But if you’ve ever started watching a show only to realize a few minutes in that you’ve already seen it, you’ll want to use the Mark as Watched feature.

From your computer, find the TV show episode that you want to mark as watched and select the three dots to access the menu.

Then, click Mark episode as watched or Mark season as watched.

If you’re using YouTube TV from a phone, long press on any program to mark it as watched. That way, it won’t be recommended to you anymore.

You can’t select this feature directly from your TV. Let’s hope that YouTube TV adds this option soon.

Here’s my workaround: From a TV set, I will fast-forward to the end of a recording that I want to mark as watched. After I watch the final minute of the recording, the program is marked as watched in my DVR.

7. Delete Search and Watch History

If YouTube TV’s recommendations are totally off, you may want to try clearing your search and watch history.

From a computer: 

  • Go to the Settings tab
  • Click Privacy
  • Click Manage search history and Manage watch history

From there, you’ll be able to delete things you’ve viewed on YouTube TV and YouTube. It’s easy to delete items individually or you can select by date range.

You can also pause search and watch history going forward, but that will affect your recommendations.

8. Prevent Sports Spoilers

YouTube TV makes it easy to follow your favorite teams and leagues.

From the search bar, you can type the name of your favorite team and add it to your library to record upcoming games.

But to prevent spoiler alerts, head to the menu from the team page and select Hide all scores for this team.

That way, YouTube TV won’t display the final score before you’ve had a chance to watch the game. 

Hide all scores for this team feature from YouTube TV on a desktop

9. Family Sharing

You can share your YouTube TV subscription with other people who live in your household. 

The primary account holder is called the Family Manager. They can share YouTube TV with up to five members — for a total of six accounts per household. 

From the settings, the account manager can invite members with a Google account. 

Having separate accounts for different members of the household allows each person to get their own recommendations and DVR.

Just remember, you must live in the same household as other members on the account. 

YouTube TV allows for three simultaneous streams with the base plan, which should be plenty for most households.

Get unlimited in-home streams and three on the go with the 4K Plus add-on.

10. Change Your Home Area

YouTube TV allows you to change your home area, with some limitations.

Only the family manager can make this change. From the account settings, select Area and then Update.

You can change your home area twice per year. 

This comes in handy for people who relocate or split their time between two homes throughout the year. 

11. Dark Theme

With the default version of YouTube TV on a web browser and mobile device, the background is white.

But there is a dark theme that you can enable. 

YouTube TV light vs. dark theme live guide

Whether you’re on a computer or your phone, select your profile picture in the corner, tap Settings and select the Dark Theme. 

Take a look at the difference above. Which do you prefer?

12. Change Streaming Quality

If you’re watching your data usage, you may want to adjust the YouTube TV streaming quality.

I’m on a mobile device for this demonstration. From the video player, select the three dots in the upper right corner and then Quality.

It’s set to automatic on all supported devices, but you can adjust down or up as necessary.

Adjust YouTube TV video quality from a phone

If you want to stream video in 4K, that feature is available as an add-on from your account settings. However, the amount of content available to stream in 4K remains limited.

13. Parental Controls

There’s a way to make YouTube TV kids safe. 

You can turn on the “Allow TV-Y, TV-G, G, and PG only” setting to filter which programs can be watched using the service.

From a mobile device, click Settings, Filter and make the selection.

According to YouTube TV, this setting turns on the filter for only one device. 

YouTube TV parental controls from a mobile device

So from a TV set, you’ll want to select the profile picture, tap settings, filter and then turn on Enable the TV-Y, VG-G, G and PG only setting.

If you have multiple children with separate accounts, repeat this process for each device tied to their YouTube TV account.

14. TV Everywhere

For many of the networks in its lineup, YouTube TV users can use their sign-in information to watch TV Everywhere. 

Here’s how it works:

  • Go to the mobile app or website for a specific network
  • Select YouTube TV as your service provider
  • Enter your YouTube TV sign-in information
  • Get instant access to what the network app or website offers

Here’s a full list of participating networks

15. Manage Your Membership

This is something only the family manager can do. 

From the account settings on your computer, click on Billing.

Next to the payment method, select Update and you’ll be able to manage your payment information. 

This is where you can change your payment method and even add a backup.

YouTube TV billing information change on a computer

And if you ever want to pause or cancel your YouTube TV membership, head to the Membership tab. You can easily see your billing date from that screen.

I made another video that explains the differences between pausing and canceling YouTube TV:

How to Contact YouTube TV

If you have additional questions about YouTube TV’s settings and features that were not answered in this article, you can reach out to YouTube TV customer support here.

And for more coverage of YouTube TV and other streaming services, subscribe to my YouTube channel!

More Streaming TV Content:

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17 thoughts on “YouTube TV Tips and Tricks: 15 Settings You Need to Know”

  1. Great tips, helped me get my family setup! The custom menu rocks, now if I could just get it to default to Live TV it would save a few clicks. We’re in trial mode but stand to save $60 a month over my spectrum cable provider if this tests out.

  2. My wife would like to see if there were a way to increase the size of the channel name on the “live” guide. Even on our 65″ TV many are unreadable across the room.

  3. Rachel Rodriguez Clark

    We have been enjoying YouTubeTV (YTTV) for months. We have YTTV on three televisons. The one in my bedroom is acting up. It goes on but after a while the circle curser freezes the screen and sound for about four minutes while it continues to spin then continues playing and continues this pattern. It does it on all channels and recorded shows too.
    It used to help by unplugging and plugging back it in socket but not now.
    Any suggestions?

  4. You advertise 7 day free trial or 3 months @ $10 off first three months. But I go to sign up, I get 5 day free style. Is this false advertising or what???

  5. i have read and re-read the most watched tip. when i find the episode i wish to mark as watched, i do not see the three dots. nor does the episode get marked as watched automatically. it used to but no longer. is there a setting i am missing to enable this feature? Either the automatic maring of watched or the manual method to mark something as watched?

  6. Why do I record shows, and I can play them for days or weeks…and then all of a sudden, they are not available to watch…but still in my library??? Can I only watch a certain amount of times? I thought they stayed for 9 months???

    1. It’s possible you may have recorded a channel that was being offered free for a limited time. As an example, HBO is not part of my available channels but for Thanksgiving, YouTube TV allows that and others Free… and you can record them, but once the free period is over , you can no longer play them.

  7. My wife has recorded the Andy Griffith show…and added it to our library. She likes to fall asleep to it…and leave it on all night. The problem is now …it does not go on to the next episode! It used to all the time…and it does on other series recordings…such as Big Bang Theory…but no longer on Andy Griffith! Any suggestions on a fix?

  8. Wondering if you could help. The mini guide used to display all the channels from left to right. Now only 4 channels are displayed not the entire line-up. I’ve gone to to make sure all channels are check marked, restarted my computer and have not had any luck. I hate to have to uninstall and reinstall. Thought you could offer some advice. Thanks so much!

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