How To Record Live Broadcasts on YouTube TV

Posted by Jamie on February 15, 2019

One of the highlights of YouTube TV is a generous DVR allowance. It offers more space than any other service at the moment so there is every reason to use it. But how do you record live broadcasts on YouTube TV? How can you access all that DVR goodness? This tutorial will show you how.

YouTube TV is yet another option for cord cutters to move away from overpriced cable subscriptions and shift to streaming. Owned by internet giant Google who also own YouTube, YouTube TV is a very viable alternative to cable and other streaming services. Not the most imaginative name for a streaming service I will admit, but what’s on offer competes very well with others.

What’s on offer with YouTube TV?

YouTube TV is an alternative to Sling TV, DirecTV and others like it. The service offers over 60 channels depending on where you live and other features too. In return for $40 a month you can access up to six concurrent streams, use a ‘limitless’ DVR function and watch on almost any device you can think of that is capable of showing a video stream.

Some channels are limited by region but will likely include ABC, Fox, CBS, NBC, AMC, BBC America, Bravo, FS1, E!, ESPN, Fox, FX, MSNBC, National Geographic, StartTV, Sundance TV, SyFy, TNT, USA and YouTube Originals. The full list is available on the web page once you enter your zip code.

YouTube TV is available in most US cities but you should check first. That zip code box on the main page will not only tell you what channels are available but whether the service is available at all. Those living outside the US cannot have YouTube TV just yet but that will be changing.

Recording live broadcasts on YouTube TV

One big selling point of YouTube TV is the unlimited DVR offer. Other services offer up to 50 hours or cloud DVR space but YouTube TV says it’s unlimited. It isn’t quite unlimited though. If you record a program and it then arrives on-demand, you don’t automatically get to watch your recorded version but you may accidentally select the on-demand version instead.

This can be an issue as the on-demand content includes commercial breaks you cannot fast forward through. The DVR recorded version allows you to skip ads.

In the beginning, this was rare and mainly if you recorded something and didn’t get around to watching it for a week or so. That time period has steadily shortened to a day or sometimes even a few hours. This is partly down to YouTube TV getting content from live to on-demand much faster and is not necessarily a bad thing.

However, don’t buy this service thinking you’re getting truly ad free DVR content because you aren’t necessarily getting that at all. You can choose which version of your content to watch but it is all too easy to choose the wrong one.

Aside from that limitation, the DVR is very simple to use.

It’s all in the library

The DVR is handled from your Library. Whenever you watch a TV show, event or movie, you should see a ‘+’ icon next to it. Select this and you add it to your library. Any future episodes, games or events will automatically be recorded for you and accessed through the Library.

You can use the Live tab to see what’s on right now and either watch it there and then or select the ‘+’ icon to record it. You can access the recording from the Library tab.

If you add a TV show to your library, it will automatically be recorded for you and all future episodes too. If you add a specific sport or team to your preferences in the Library, all their games will also be recorded for you. Movies and one-off events will obviously be recorded individually.

You will find all of your recorded shows in the Library and will be able to watch and cancel from there too.

After the initial controversy over DVR and on-demand, you are now presented with a popup where you choose what version of a recording to watch. You can select VOD or DVR and the player will select the version. I have found that if I’m in a hurry and hit to select a show multiple times in the Library, that the VOD version is automatically selected and I have more commercials than usual. That is user error through and if you’re more careful than I am, you should have no problems!

Do you like YouTube TV? Prefer it over other streaming services? Have problems with the service? Tell us your thoughts below!

4 thoughts on “How To Record Live Broadcasts on YouTube TV”

Yolanda says:
I do not see the + icon for the DVR. I’ve gone thru many shows and do not see it. Where is it?
Laura says:
I can’t believe no one gave instructions on this…there is no + icon once you are in a playing show. Hope this helps Yolanda…
If you don’t know ahead of a show or movie you want to record is on, When in “Live” the guide and scrolling through it, if you see an upcoming (next ½ hour or more) show/movie you want to record, scroll to it and click on it. If you had not set it to your Library already, a pop up comes up with “Back” or “More Info”. Arrow up on the Roku remote to “More Info” and in the next screen arrow up to “+ Add to library” and it will be added to your library. Then if you want to you can arrow back down to “Watch Now”…click on it and the show icon after and you are watching and recording. You have added it to your library, so all upcoming and any previous will be there to watch later also.
Devin says:
Great info. Are you able to start recording a TV show that has already started?
Kaybee says:
The plus is below the red progress line when you press “stop” as you are watching a live show.
kaybee says:
sorry, when you are watching a live tv show, press “stop” then a red progress line appears on the bottom of the picture. The “plus” sign is there in the bottom left beside “cc”.
Chuck says:
Is there a way to set record time to run longer in case a game runs long?
Donna says:
I found your article very helpful. I do have one question. Once I add my TV shows to my library will it record only new/current versions of the show or will it record reruns also?
Ken says:
reruns also

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