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Yes, YouTube TV Has Ads & Most Can’t Be Skipped


YouTube TV ads

YouTube TV does include ads. When watching YouTube TV’s live channels, subscribers are watching a live broadcast. Due to this, the ads shown on YouTube TV can’t be skipped. In this sense, YouTube TV is not any different to watching live TV with a traditional cable or satellite package.

YouTube TV subscribers can typically pause live TV and this can make a difference. Once paused, the live channel continues as normal while the subscriber is on a delay. When playback resumes, the subscriber is able to fast forward to catch back up with the actual live feed. Depending on how long the pause is for, this can be a way to skip ads when watching live TV.

While it makes sense for live TV channels to include ads, watching live is only part of the YouTube TV experience. Unfortunately, ads are often seen in other areas too. Although ads can’t be skipped when watching live, they can be skipped elsewhere – some of the time.

Ads when watching on demand

Besides live TV, YouTube TV also offers subscribers the option to watch videos on demand. Considering on demand content is not shown live, it makes sense that the ads can be avoided. However, that’s not typically the case.

Although on demand is not a live broadcast, it is also not a copy of the broadcast like recordings are. Instead, on demand videos have been made available by the channel or network. This also means traditional ads are not included. However, that doesn’t mean there are no ads at all. With on demand content, channels will still include ads, albeit ones that are different to the usual ads experienced when watching live.

For example, when watching on demand, ads are injected into the video. Subscribers can easily identify the difference as, unlike traditional live TV ads, video on-demand ads on YouTube TV come with a yellow “Ad” icon in the corner of the screen along with a progress bar indicating how long remains. As these are added to the video and not part of the broadcast, these ads also typically cannot be skipped. On the positive side, subscribers tend to have an indicator of how long the ads are.

Ads when watching DVR recordings

When it comes to DVR recordings, things are a little more complicated. The good news, YouTube TV allows subscribers to skip ads when watching recordings. Similar to how pausing a live TV channel creates a delay where the user can fast forward through the commercials, the same can be done when watching recordings. In fact, as the original broadcast has ended, the subscriber is free to forward through all of the ads without worrying about catching up.

That’s the good news. The bad news, YouTube TV doesn’t always allow subscribers to skip through commercials on recordings. To be completely accurate, it is not YouTube TV choosing to stop ads from being skipped and, technically, the viewer is not actually watching a recording.

To explain, YouTube TV offers a great DVR experience where users can record as much as they want without worrying about space. However, there are limitations with YouTube TV’s DVR and one of them is the ability for networks to prohibit access to the original recording. Essentially, some networks will require YouTube TV to play an on demand version instead of the recording. As already explained, the on demand versions include ads that can’t be skipped. Therefore, when a network requires YouTube TV to prioritize the on demand version, the user will still ads that can’t be skipped.

For reference, this is the exception and not the rule, so subscribers should be able to skip the ads when watching a recording most of time. In cases where they can’t be skipped, it is due to a decision made by the network and not an error on YouTube TV’s part.

YouTube TV ads summary

Yes, YouTube TV does have ads and in most cases they cannot be skipped. As ads are shown live when watching live channels, there’s nowhere to skip forward to. However, subscribers can always pause a live broadcast to create a delay and then use that time to fast forward through the commercials. In addition, YouTube TV subscribers should also expect to see ads when watching on demand content. These ads are different to the ads shown during live broadcasts and are usually labelled. Once again, these ads typically cannot be skipped.

When it comes to recordings, YouTube TV subscribers will be able to fast forward through the ads. The main exception is when networks require YouTube TV to play the on demand version instead of the recording. When this happens, ads that can’t be skipped will be shown on YouTube TV.

Read more: Can You Cancel A YouTube TV Free Trial?

John Finn


20 responses to “Yes, YouTube TV Has Ads & Most Can’t Be Skipped”

  1. Ads suck, I’m leaving as well. The service is not cheap and I’m paying to be forced to watch commercial content more than programming content. Going to Philo $25 a month

  2. In general I like the service but considering cancelling just because every commercial break plays a ridiculously stupid Austin Dillon commercial, driving my wife and I up a wall.

  3. BucksFan Avatar

    I am only paying for tv due to watching NBA finals, the commercials are so annoying. I will cancel when Bucks win NBA title again! Ha! Commercials suck big time. My time is valuable.

  4. Why have DVR service if you still have to watch commercials? This really sucks. Didn’t have this problem with Direct TV or even Sling TV. May have to try something new

  5. Started trial 2 days ago..the ads on “DVR” or “On demand” in my “Library ” are ridiculous. Probably gonna cancel…

  6. Yes they promote unlimited DVR but don’t tell u about the com’s. They treat u like your stupid and won’t notice. They keep adding a few stations at a time. So much greed now!!!

  7. Thanks for this article. Now promptly canceling my youtube TV subscription (over $60/month!) since I now know I’m being forced to watch commercials. I came here to confirm what I was seeing with my own eyes, thanks! Any recommended replacements?

  8. YT is embedded with demands in on demand, beyond acceptance. Today an episode of Friends has 12 commercials on the front end, 11 more at minute 10 and 12 more at minute 20. That’s 10-12 minutes of commercials for a 30 minute episode. Im done YT

  9. I’ve been trying YouTube for free and have been searching to see if there is a way to skip adds on the DVR and I’m just doing it wrong. Turns out there it’s not me, it’s them. I’ve had TiVo for years and this is a deal breaker for me. No way am I going to pay that much money and not be able to skip ads when can go back to cable and TiVo.

  10. Over 14 consecutive ads on Raclhelle Maddox tonight. It’s about time to bring back Directv despite the $60 increase. I guess you get what you pay for…….

  11. FYI, pausing for a while and trying to fast forward through the adds does NOT work. It forces you to watch commercials. I tried it during the Giants/Washington football game. This weeks fee trial has convinced me that the service is not the same as a regular dvr. It’s completely useless.

    1. YTTV subscriber Avatar
      YTTV subscriber

      That’s true, as I just realized they switched what this article is saying for recording and watching live with a delay. Started YTTV when it was first out do I’ve seen all the changes. Currently 9/23/21 watching any recording that’s even VOD has forced ads if you try to fast forward. Usually if you watch from beginning to end it’s exactly like the live version but if you fast forward too much or stop the recording and come back later you get the same VOD ads with ad icon saying how many ads and for howling which is equal to a regular commercial break.

      Big difference is that you can get 3-4 normal ads then the last one is a place holder ” Thanks for watching” and is ridiculously the longest 2 and half minutes easy wasting time. Better than actual commercials though.

      1. A digital video recorder allows you to record, playback, rewind and fast forward. Set top boxes and satcom receivers have DVRs built in that allow this function.

        YouTube is falsely advertising “Unlimited DVR” space as part of its service. Glad I found this out and day 1 of the free trial so I can cancel and stick with the cord.

  12. All about more money.
    Whem will these greedy billionaires have enough?

  13. Just signed up with YT TV. Already annoyed with the fact that I can’t FF thru the commercials. I don’t want to add 8 minutes to a show I normally would have watched in 22 minuted on Direct TV. More than likely I will be seeking an alternative streaming service or go back to Direct TV.

  14. I hate ads snd I hate that you can’t forward through ads even on recorded or paused shows on utube tv.

    1. Yep… Has gotten worse. I have had YouTube TV for three years. First year hardly any ads on recorded shows. You could FF through everything except live tv. Second year more ads that couldn’t be FF lost FSN channels and rates went up. Today… Rates went up again. Every show I watch recorded has ads that can’t be FF and loss more channels. Frustrating. My theory is Big Cable is telling the programming distributors to punish the streaming companies with ads and higher rates for programming. Streaming company passes the problems to the subscriber and tells you just deal with it.

      1. AGREE! VERY frustrating! we pay for this, so WHY?


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