How to Use YouTube TV’s Live Guide

The live TV streaming service YouTube TV has rolled out big changes to its live guide.

In this article, I’ll walk you through the basics of navigating YouTube TV’s new channel guide in 2023 — including how to personalize it!

What You Need to Know About YouTube TV’s Live Guide

When you launch the YouTube TV app on your TV set, you’ll be taken to the home screen first. To access the live guide, arrow to the right on your remote and select LIVE.

Here’s what the new and improved YouTube TV live guide looks like on a TV set:

YouTube TV Live Guide with on now section and clock (2023 update)

ON NOW Section

YouTube TV’s channel guide features an ON NOW section immediately below the clock that was added after customer feedback.

Scroll through and the channel logo will change to a thumbnail image for the selected program.

The program name, network and date are listed below each thumbnail.

If you find something in the ON NOW section that you want to watch, select it (press OK on a Roku remote) and you’ll be taken directly to that program.

Main Live Guide

Scroll below the ON NOW section to access the main live guide.

From the main live guide area, you’ll notice that a show description appears at the top of the screen. It includes a description of the program that you have highlighted.

YouTube TV displays two hours of content on the live guide screen, but you can scroll to the right to preview upcoming content. There is no shortcut to jump ahead to a different day in the guide.

Live Guide Basics:

  • Select any program currently airing, and it will play in a few seconds
  • Select an upcoming program for an option to add it to your library (cloud DVR)

If you notice a check mark next to a program in the live guide, that means you added that program to your library (cloud DVR).

When you select it, you can join live or play from the beginning.

Check mark in live guide means that program is being recorded

Network logos are featured to the far left side of the guide. Select a network logo to see content for that channel only.

This will include live, upcoming and on demand programming.

Select a network logo for content from an individual channel

YouTube TV’s new guide shrunk the font size compared to the previous version. Unfortunately, there is no way to increase the font size.

How to Customize the YouTube TV Live Guide

If you don’t like the default order of the channel guide, you can customize it. Select the menu with three horizontal lines, which is located above the network logos.

Channel sorting options include:

  • Default
  • Custom
  • Most watched
  • A-Z (alphabetical)
  • Z-A
Customize YouTube TV live guide from a computer or mobile app

To create a custom guide, sign in to YouTube TV from a computer or the mobile app — not your TV set.

From YouTube TV’s website, select your account icon in the upper right corner. Click Settings. Then, select Live guide using the navigation on the left of the screen.

YouTube TV customize live guide from computer

This is where you can customize your live guide:

  • Use the up arrow to add favorite channels to the ‘Top Channels’ section
  • Use the handles on the left to drag and drop channels into the order you want them to appear in the guide
  • Hide channels from the live guide using the eye icon

You can also customize your live guide from the YouTube TV mobile app. Instead of arrows, you will place a checkmark by the channels to include in the guide.

Once you’ve personalized your live guide from the account settings, return to the live guide and select the Custom filter to display it.

Select custom live guide

Channel Surfing Options

When you’re watching live TV, click the back button on your remote to return to the live guide.

As an alternative, click down three times on your remote while watching a program to access a mini guide. This allows you to channel surf while the current program plays in the background.

The last channel you were watching is displayed in the first position from the mini guide.

YouTube TV mini guide for channel surfing

If you’re scrolling through the YouTube TV live guide and want to return to the program you were watching, press the Play/Pause button on your Roku remote two times.

This method to quickly dismiss the live guide also works with other devices that have a Play/Pause button.

Live Guide From Website and Mobile App

This article has focused on navigating YouTube TV’s live guide from a TV.

The website and mobile app also offer access to the live guide, but the display is slightly different compared to a TV set.

For example, the mobile app only displays what’s currently airing — not what’s coming up.

YouTube TV mobile app and web browser live guide

YouTube TV is my #1 pick for first-time streamers who want the best of cable at a lower price. You can compare YouTube TV alternatives in my updated guide by clicking here.

And learn more about YouTube TV in my ultimate guide for beginners tutorial.

12 thoughts on “How to Use YouTube TV’s Live Guide”

  1. How do I assign numbers to the channels in YouTube TV? I do not want to scroll through 70 or 80 channels to go to a certain channel. Changing the order of the channels is of little or no value, since I use all the channels. I just want to give each one a number and be able to enter that number to go there. is there a way to do that? If not, YouTube TV is losing millions of potential customers.

  2. I am seeing the new style live guide on one of my three TVs but not the other two. I use the generation of Apple TV devices to access YouTube TV.

    I don’t think I did anything to update the live guide on the one TV that has it and I can’t figure out how to update the live guide on the other two TVs.

  3. I can not get the list of shows on the live tv guide. The new shows are on top but the grid list of channels I can not get, does not show. How do I get that back???? The list of channels is gone….. just the pictures of the shows on are on top of my LIVE …. is there a way to get it back. It is only on one of our tv’s, the newest one does not show it. HELP…..

  4. BTW … I just spoke with a YouTube TV engineer. They had to roll back the new guide interface for the built-in LG TV app as well as the Apple TV (streaming device) app. Anybody using those will see the “old” interface (no clock, etc.).

  5. I have just cut the cord and signed up for YouTube TV to use primarily on my TV. (Strange, I know.) I have googled and I have watched several of your videos, but I can’t find a grid that shows what is on, on all channels and what will be on going forward (like what I’m used to with xFinity). When I scroll below “live,” I see what’s playing on three different HBO channels–that’s it. If that’s what is meant by “live guide,” it does me no good. Directions I found elsewhere were equally unhelpful. Can someone please tell me how to find something like a program guide for YouTube TV? Thanks in advance.


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