YouTube TV: Can You Fast-Forward Past Ads?


Q. I am thinking of getting YouTube TV, but I was wondering if you can fast-forward past the ads like you can on my cable DVR? I have gotten very used to doing that, so there’s no way I’m turning back now. — Carl, Bowie, Maryland. 

Carl, before I answer, a little background on YouTube TV.

The live streaming service offers roughly 70 channels for $49.99 a month. The lineup includes ESPN, FS1, USA Network, Fox News, CNN, among other basic cable channels, and the local network affiliates in many markets. You can also add certain premium channels a la carte, such as Showtime, Starz and Epix.

YouTube TV offers DVR recording with unlimited recording, which means there’s no limit on simultaneous recordings. You can also stream your recording wherever you are, and your recordings are maintained for nine months.

But can you fast-forward past ads when you watch them?

YouTube TV says you can “typically fast-forward through ads on recorded programs once they’ve aired on live TV.”

Typically means that it’s the usual practice, but there may be certain shows or networks that will prohibit fast-forwarding the ads. I am not aware of any in particular, but YouTube TV is couching its promise just in case.

And there’s another possible catch.

If you record a show that’s also available in YouTube TV’s Video on Demand library, the On Demand version will sometimes play back instead of your recording. And YouTube TV usually does not permit fast-forwarding past ads in On Demand shows.

Carl, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe.

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4 comments on “YouTube TV: Can You Fast-Forward Past Ads?”

  1. We are YouTubeTV subscribers and YES, any show in your Library you CAN skip through commercials! Just make sure to add it to your Library before it airs. For example, if you add Modern Family to the library today (April 7, 2020), you’ll be able to skip commercials in the season finale, but you will see prior week’s episodes which are technically VOD and the ads aren’t skippable.

    Also, the DVR is really clunky. You cannot ad individual episodes, just the series. Luckily, you have unlimited DVR storage (since it’s all in the cloud).

    Hope that makes sense!

  2. We’re also Youtube TV subscribers. Came from DirecTV. First, let me say there IS a learning curve. But I think it’s worth it. The DVR is fantastic! No, you can’t record just one episode, but who cares when you have unlimited space? Plus, the most recently aired episode always is the first listed for that show in you library. Many times there are 2 episodes recorded and there will be a message that say choose a recording. VOD will have commercials that can’t be skipped DVR recordings have commercials that CAN be skipped. But even VOD recordings total commercial time is only around 2-3 minutes….here is my list of reasons to switch: way less money per month! Sure there are less channels, but most of the good ones are there. Also, you can arrange the live guide in any order you would like. You can move your favorites to the top. Changing channels is almost instant…much faster than DTV. Best surprise when we changed is the picture quality. MUCH better picture! Plus they upconvert everything to 1080p. I am truly amazed at the picture quality. One draw back though: sound is not 5.1. It’s 2.1. But we watch so much from the likes of Netflix, Amazon, Showtime, HBO and Apple TV+, which are all in 5.1 that it really isn’t a big deal. After the learning curve, we really love YTTV. Best deal around!

  3. I have YouTube TV. I used to be able to watch America’s worst cooks without commercial interruption. Now, last night when I attempted to watch an episode from 2019, it was full of commercials. I don’t understand why. What’s going on?

  4. I record Morning Joe on MSNBC each weekday morning so I can watch it a couple of hours later. This week I’ve lost my ability to skip through commercials. Skipping commercials on other shows even on the same network. It appears that YouTube TV is preventing me from doing this

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