How to Record on YouTube TV

Learn what the YouTube TV DVR can do

YouTube TV has a lot of selling points, including an extensive channel lineup and competitive price tag, but its unlimited digital video recorder (DVR) feature elevates it above most of the other live TV streaming services.

This feature lets you record any program you want, including shows, movies, live sports, and other events, and then watch the recordings on any device. If you're ready to start using your YouTube DVR, here's how to record on YouTube TV, the benefits and features, and also a handful of limitations.

A woman uses the YouTube TV DVR on her phone.
Farknot_Architect / iStock / Getty 

How Does the YouTube TV DVR Work?

If you can't find the DVR on the YouTube TV interface, don't worry. You actually won't find anything called a DVR regardless of whether you use the website or an app, because YouTube TV doesn't call its DVR feature a DVR. You have a library instead, and you essentially record a program with your DVR by opting to add that program to your library.

When you add a program to your library, the DVR feature will automatically record it when it airs. If you choose a TV show, it will automatically record that show every time it airs, including both first run and reruns. Programs recorded in this way are accessed by navigating to the My Library section of the YouTube TV website or app.

When YouTube TV first launched, the service would force you to watch the on-demand version of any show or movie you attempted to record instead of your recorded version. This would prevent you from fast-forwarding through commercials in those instances. That practice has been ended, and you can now fast forward through all of your DVR content.

YouTube TV DVR Features

While it isn't called a DVR, YouTube TV has one of the most expansive DVR feature sets that you'll ever see. There are very few limitations and a ton of benefits. Here are some of the key features of the YouTube TV DVR:

  • Live recording: You can watch any program live even if you have added it to your library. You can also hit pause at any time while watching a live program to automatically add it to your library and start recording.
  • Fast-forwarding live TV: If you're watching a live program and pause it, you can fast forward during the commercials to catch up.
  • Recording while watching another program: You are free to watch a live show while recording a different show to watch later.
  • Limitations on simultaneous recordings: There are no limitations to how many shows you can record at once or the total number of shows you can record. Add as many shows to your library as you like.
  • DVR storage limits: Unlike many live TV streaming services, YouTube TV has no DVR storage limits. You can add as many programs to your library as you want without worrying about storage space or a limited number of recording hours.
  • Cloud DVR: Your recorded programs are stored in the cloud, so you can access them from anywhere.

How to Record Shows With the YouTube DVR

To record shows with your YouTube DVR, you need to add them to your library. The following instructions show how to do this using the YouTube website, but the process is basically the same using the YouTube app:

  1. Navigate to tv.youtube.com, or open the YouTube app on your phone or streaming device.

  2. Click or tap the magnifying glass in the upper right corner of the screen.

    A screenshot of YouTube TV.
  3. Type the name of the program you're looking for in the search box at the top of the screen, or use the discovery tools on this page to find something you're interested in.

    A screenshot of the YouTube TV search page.
  4. If you found a show you're interested in on the previous page, click or tap it. If you ran a search, click or tap the show you're looking for in the search results.

    A screenshot of a YouTube TV search.
  5. Click or tap the + icon on the program detail page.

    A screenshot of a show on YouTube TV.

    On the mobile app, you can also tap the bell icon to receive a notification each time the program airs in case you want to watch live. This icon is not available on the website or streaming device apps.

  6. The + icon will change to a check mark, indicating that the program has been added to your DVR.

    A screenshot of a show on YouTube TV that has been set for DVR.

How to Watch Shows With the YouTube TV DVR

Once you've added a show to your DVR, you can watch it at any time by navigating to the Library section of the YouTube TV app or website. Your shows are stored for nine months, and they are stored in the cloud, so you can watch them on any device within that time frame.

Here's how to watch shows with the YouTube TV DVR:

  1. Navigate to tv.youtube.com, or open the YouTube app on your phone or streaming device.

  2. Click or tap LIBRARY.

    A screenshot of YouTube TV.
  3. Click or tap the show you want to watch.

    A screenshot of the YouTube TV Library.
  4. Click the episode you want to watch if it's visible in the default tab, or click Episodes.

    A screenshot of a recorded show on YouTube TV.
  5. Locate the episode you want to watch, and select it.

    A screenshot of recorded episodes on YouTube TV.
  6. If an episode has been recorded more than once, or there are video on demand (VOD) versions, you will be presented with a list of options. Click the play button next to the version you want to watch.

    A screenshot of recording versions on YouTube TV.
  7. Your recorded show will then play.

    A screenshot of a show on YouTube TV.

How to Delete YouTube TV DVR Recordings

The YouTube TV DVR doesn't actually give you the option to delete recordings. There is no limit to how many shows you can record though, so there's no reason to delete anything. Nine months after you record a show, it will be deleted from the system automatically, so make sure to watch your recordings before that happens.

How to Remove Programs From Your YouTube TV Library

While you can't delete YouTube TV DVR recordings, you can remove programs from your library. This can help reduce clutter, so you may want to remove things that you've already seen and things that you are no longer interested in from time to time.

Here's how to remove a program from your YouTube TV library:

  1. Locate a show that you want to remove from your library.

  2. Click the check mark icon.

    A screenshot of a show on YouTube TV.
  3. The check mark will revert to a + icon, and the show will be removed from your library.

    A screenshot of a removed program on YouTube TV.
  4. If you want to record the program again in the future, simply come back and click or tap the + icon again.