How to Use YouTube TV on Demand

Watch your favorite shows whenever you want!

YouTube TV is a live television streaming service, but its on-demand streaming feature is robust as well. YouTube TV On-Demand allows you to pick your choice of thousands of hours of on-demand content whenever you like, and it's thoroughly integrated with the service's digital video recorder (DVR) feature, helping to ensure you never miss any episodes of your favorite shows.

What On-Demand Content Does YouTube TV Offer?

YouTube TV's on-demand library includes content from the majority of its channels, including broadcast networks like Fox and CBS, and cable networks like FX, TBS, and AMC. On-demand episodes are available are also available for most popular shows, but there are some exceptions.

The number of episodes YouTube TV provides on-demand varies by network and also by show. Most broadcast network shows offer the latest four or five episodes of the latest season, and some cable shows follow that same pattern. Other shows provide the entire current season, while others provide full previous seasons in addition to the current season.

For shows that only provide a handful of on-demand episodes, you can supplement with the YouTube TV DVR feature that automatically records reruns in addition to new episodes. Recorded episodes appear alongside on-demand episodes in your library, often allowing you to reconstruct an entire season even when only a handful of on-demand episodes are available.

In addition to on-demand episodes of television shows, YouTube TV also offers on-demand movies.

Does YouTube TV on Demand Force You to Watch Commercials?

On-demand content on YouTube TV used to feature ads prominently, and some shows still do come with baked-in commercials. When an episode does have commercials, you'll see a yellow progress bar, instead of red, and a small ad icon in the corner whenever a commercial is airing. You aren't allowed to skip or fast forward through these commercials.

Whether or not you have to watch commercials depends on the shows you watch. Some networks feature commercials more prominently than others, while others have no ads on their on-demand shows at all.

When you record a show or movie which is also available on-demand, you can choose which copy to watch, and you are allowed to fast forward through the ads on your recorded copy.

How to Watch YouTube TV On-Demand Shows and Movies

To watch on-demand content on YouTube TV, you have to navigate to the page of the show or movie you want to watch. YouTube TV doesn't have a specific section for on-demand content, so you have to seek it out yourself.

These instructions work for the web player and all YouTube TV apps, although the specific locations of some user interface elements may vary.

Here's the easiest way to watch YouTube TV on-demand:

  1. Navigate to tv.youtube.com, log in, and click the magnifying glass in the upper right corner of the window.

    The magnifying glass highlighted on YouTube TV's site.
  2. Type the name of the show you want to watch, and click it in the search results.

    A screenshot of a YouTube TV search.
  3. Click any episode you want to watch, or use the menu displaying SEASON [X] to see a list of available seasons.

    A screenshot of on demand content on YouTube TV.

    If you add a show to your library, you can access it in the future from your library instead of searching for it. To access your library, click the Library link that can be found at the top of the window throughout YouTube TV and at the bottom of the popup controls when you're watching a show.

How to Find On-Demand Shows and Movies By Network

If you're not sure what you want to watch, you can also browse a handful of categories or check out a network's entire library. This is helpful if you have a show you want to watch, and you know what network it's on, but you don't want to type out the name of the show using your streaming device remote control. It's also a good way to browse through shows if you aren't quite sure what you want to watch.

In addition to this method, you can also click any network in the live TV guide to visit that network's page and view a list of available shows and movies.

Here's how to find on-demand shows on YouTube TV grouped by network:

  1. Navigate to tv.youtube.com, log in, and click the magnifying glass in the upper right corner of the window.

    The magnifying glass highlighted on YouTube TV's site.
  2. Click on the network you are interested in.

    BBC's channel highlighted on YouTube TV's website.

    You can also choose from a selection of content types on this page, like sports and movies.

  3. Click Series or Movies.

    A network on YouTube TV.

    Some networks default to their series tab, while others show their live content, highlight specific shows, or start with a different tab. If your network starts on the series tab, you can skip this step.

  4. Click the show or movie you want to watch.

    A screenshot of shows on YouTube TV.
  5. Click the episode you want to watch, or use the menu displaying SEASON [X] to select a different season.

    A screenshot of on-demand shows on YouTube TV.

    On-demand episodes have a yellow VOD tag, while recorded episodes have a gray DVR tag.