What you need to know
- The YouTube TV app is preparing to allow users to save shows for offline viewing.
- The functionality was discovered in the most recent version of the mobile app that's currently being rolled out.
- Offline streaming is currently available on YouTube's other apps.
The ability to "download" videos and music is quite useful when you want to save something to watch later without worrying about running down your battery with a constant data stream. Both YouTube and YT Music have this feature, which saves content to the device to be viewed within the app itself. When it comes to YouTube TV, however, content is handled through the app's cloud DVR that still requires a connection. Fortunately, it appears that offline viewing is finally making its way to YouTube TV subscribers soon, based on code found in the latest app update.
In version 5.06.2 of the YouTube TV app, the system notification "Looking for incomplete downloads" was spotted (via 9to5Google), mirroring the same notification found on the YouTube and YT Music apps. Upon looking into the app code, it was found that YouTube TV may very well receive the ability to save videos for offline viewing:
<string name="offline_landing_title">You are offline</string>
<string name="offline_landing_button_primary">Go to downloads</string>
<string name="offline_landing_subtitle">Watch your downloaded videos</string>
Additional code indicates the presence of a download button and dialogue. The feature doesn't seem to be live at the moment and could be pushed via a server-side update to the latest version of the app.
Since the feature is not yet live, it's unclear how the app will handle offline downloads; how long they'll last, what channels will support the feature, if the downloads will be available to watch from the best streaming devices, etc. Considering how long YouTube TV has been available, it's surprising this feature hasn't been available sooner, although it's likely there may have been some legal hurdles to deal with regarding content. The new version of the YouTube TV app is currently rolling out, so it may not be long until the feature is rolled out as well.