You might think of YouTube as merely a place for snack-sized videos, but it doesn't have to be that way.
If you know where to look, YouTube can be a treasure trove of longform content, from concerts and stand-up specials to full-length movies and documentaries. And with the right tools, you can even string shorter YouTube videos — such as comedy skits, educational videos and late-night TV bits — into marathon viewing sessions. Best of all, none of it costs a dime, so it's a great way for cord cutters to round out their video options.
For this week's column, I've rounded up a handful of tips to make the most out of YouTube:
First, get comfortable
Before we dig in, you'll want to install YouTube's TV app on your living-room device of choice if it's not there already. Apple TV and Android TV have YouTube pre-installed, as do many smart TVs and Blu-ray players. You can download it from Roku's app store if you own that streamer. (Check YouTube's website for a full list of supported devices.) If you have a home-theater PC or a Chromebox — you can access the TV-friendly version of YouTube through your web browser at youtube.com/tv.
Channel subscriptions: the more, the merrier
It's easy to overlook YouTube Channels when you're just visiting the website or using its mobile apps, but they're a vital part of the viewing experience on televisions. To add some, head to the Channel list on YouTube's main site and click "subscribe" on the ones you like. The "More channels like..." box in the top-right corner will make further recommendations based on what you add. It's best to add lots of channels up front, and prune back any ones you don't like later.
Once you have a solid list, head to the "My Subscriptions" section of the YouTube TV app, where all of your channels' latest videos are mashed together into a continuous stream. You can also view individual channels from the "Subscriptions" section of the main menu. (I personally avoid YouTube's main "What to Watch" section, which often includes too many irrelevant videos from other sources.)
Wrangle up some full-length films and specials
Stringing together short clips isn't the only way to watch YouTube. The site also plays host to plenty of longform videos that are perfect for an evening on the couch. Reddit users have done a fine job of curating full-length movies and stand-up comedy specials, and you'll find other curated lists from YouTube users and other sites. If you're feeling nostalgic, Reddit has a list of old TV shows on the site as well.
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