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YouTube TV tips: 6 ways to bring the streaming video site into your living room

Jared Newman | Feb. 6, 2015
You might think of YouTube as merely a place for snack-sized videos, but it doesn't have to be that way.

Browsing these lists on your computer won't make it easier to watch on your TV, Of course, which brings us to the next tip:

Get cozy with Watch Later

As you browse the YouTube site from your computer, hover your mouse over any video thumbnail. See the little clock icon in the bottom-right corner? Clicking it adds the video to your "Watch Later" queue, which you can reach through the sidebar menu of YouTube's TV app. The same button is also available from the bottom-right corner of any currently-playing video, and through the "+" button of any playing video on YouTube's mobile app. You can use Watch Later for anything, but it's best for keeping your own curated list of full-length movies, shows, and specials.

Use advanced search for TV-friendly videos

Those lists I linked earlier aren't the only ways to find longform videos on YouTube. With advanced search terms (via this list at Digital Inspiration), you can narrow your searches to HD videos that are at least 20 minutes in length.

Just add the words "long" and "HD" to your searches, separated by commas. For instance, you could search "pearl jam concert, long, hd" if you feel like rocking out, or search "wildlife, long, hd" for some nature documentaries. Keep in mind that this only works on the desktop browser version of YouTube, so you'll need to search from your computer first, then add the findings to your trusty Watch Later list.

Consider creating a TV-specific account

If you already make extensive use of YouTube's Channels, Playlists, and Watch Later section, you might want to create a fresh Google account just for your TV activities. That way, you can focus on pulling together only the videos you want to watch on television, while keeping your other activities and interests separate. You might even find that YouTube's "What to Watch" section works better this way, as it won't factor in all the random videos you come across in a given day.

Turn your phone or tablet into a remote

Sometimes, YouTube's TV interface can feel too confining when you're looking for things to watch. Fortunately, many devices let you use a paired phone or tablet as a remote control, so you can find videos on the small screen and queue them up for viewing on the television.

If you have a Chromecast, Roku,Amazon Fire TV or Vizio smart TV, you can pair your phone or tablet with hardly any setup. Just open the mobile YouTube app and tap on the Cast icon, which should appear as long your TV device is on the same Wi-Fi network. Other devices can also pair with your phone or tablet through a slightly more complicated process. On the YouTube TV app, scroll down to settings and select "Pair Device." You'll be prompted to visit on your remote device and enter the code on your TV screen.


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