Streaming YouTubeTV in an Apple-centric home

I live in a neighborhood that is an island when it comes to internet and cable services. We have about 30 homes, and no one is interested in bringing us services. The incumbent local area exchange is the only provider and they treat us that way. Our internet service is limited to about 24 Mbps by binding two DSL lines together and our prices are high. :rage:. We pay as much or more than the folks down the hill do for their fiber—from the same company!

In the past we have pitted Dish and DirecTV against each other and taken the better offer—switching every three years or so. But we are tired of the bills and crappy reception during rain and snow storms—not to mention the dish icing up and sometimes taking days to thaw.

I have been trying to use YouTube TV services on our main television by running it through the app on my AppleTV. But the app’s interface on the AppleTV is not very user friendly.

Has anyone found an elegant solution to streaming YouTubeTV in their Apple-centric home? I really don’t like the idea of buying an iMac mini just for this and—while I might get used to it—don’t really want to have a keyboard and mouse floating around.

My son suggested I purchase a small ChromeBox, but I’m back to the keyboard and mouse again… maybe that is the thing to do, though.

Anyone running YTTV happily? How are you doing it?

YTTV seems to get the best pick from many sites as the best overall value. We tried it over the holidays and may be switching to it. The UI seems to be virtually identical for ATV, FireTV, web, etc.

I switched to YTTV - I watch primarily on an AppleTV as well as our new Sony X950G (Android TV). I’m curious what aspects of the UI are bothering you? In a few cases I’ve found alternative ways to navigate it that make it ok for me.

I’ve been using YTTV for a couple of months. My preferred method of watching is to use the YTTV app on my IPad to select a program, then cast it to a Chromecast dongle (about $30) on my TV. At that point the show is streaming direct to the Chromecast. So I can close the iPad, if i choose, and control the program (play, pause, etc) using voice via a Google Home Mini.

The biggest issues are with the live guide. There are no channel numbers so there is no way to go to a specific channel. You must scroll through the list and there isn’t even a page down-type function so scrolling to the bottom of the list is a lot of flicking.

There is no way to customize the guide via the app—one has to log on through a browser. And yesterday I tried to add PBS, which worked on the browser, but is still not visible in the app. I even tried logging out of the app and back in.

To a lesser degree, we often start watching many shows 10 or 15 minutes into them so we can skip commercials. Sometimes when forwarding or backing up in the recording, the preview boxes appear black. This is not helpful, but not a huge deal.

One other thing I noticed, which again is not a huge deal, is the amount of time it takes the app to start a stream. While this is nearly instantaneous in a browser or the iOS app, it can take 5 to 8 seconds in my Apple TV app.

I am running on a 32GB gen 4 Apple TV, if that matters.

I can’t say anything about the AppleTV interface as I don’t have one. We do have two Rokus in the house and they work pretty well. Can either use their remote or the app on the iPhone. We subscribe to YTTV but are considering dropping it only because we get plenty to watch with Amazon Prime and Netflix. (We don’t watch sports and primarily get our news from other sources).

That said, what we do watch is always via the DVR function so we spend no time with the clumsy live TV page. DVR response is slower than other real DVRs we’ve had but the functionality is great.

24 Mbps is far more than you need for a 1080p video stream, even several of them at once.

Yes, the Guide pretty much sucks. I think to use YTTV it is best to move away from a “channel” mindset and think about shows instead. I have (free) set up with all our favorite channels which can be viewed in Safari. It has a great grid setup and you can pick a day of the week and a time to start seeing what’s on, by channel, and scroll around a couple weeks in advance. When I notice there is a show we would want to watch (either via Titan TV, an ad on another show, or by word of mouth) I open the YTTV app on my iPad and put the name into search. Then I can add it to my DVR to watch whenever we have time. It sounds complicated and cumbersome but in practice it works well. We discovered quite a few shows we never noticed when we used cable this way (thanks to TitanTV).

I think the preview boxes being black is typically a lag in the preview loading as you move around the timeline. I tried Philo and I noticed it handles the previews differently and there is no load in their app (but I really disliked their app). Our Android TV also doesn’t experience the black previews when skipping around in the YTTV app. When I’m watching on the AppleTV I use the voice command feature of the remoteto fast forward (“skip 3 minutes“ type of thing). I was much happier once I got in the habit of doing that.

I had no trouble when I added PBS. Not sure what’s up there.

I’m not defending YTTV, just explaining how I’ve “adapted” to it. Maybe something here helps.

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I don’t know about other streaming cable-replacement services but I can attest that that guide on Sling is also terrible (same issues plus others) in the Apple TV app (and pretty much everywhere else). To @ronguest’s point above, it seems like you almost have to adopt a different mindset.

This helps a lot. One thing I need to keep reminding myself of is that my wife needs to use this easily, too. I am much more tolerant of workflows than she is. If it’s not easy for her she will make me keep the Dish. As a side note, I shudder to think how a guest might try to watch tv… lol

I cannot explain how I didn’t try the skip with voice… and I will look into Sounds like a neat app that could be used for many services.

Thanks for the insight.


We cut the cable TV cord about 8 months ago. Started with Sony Vue and have been on YTTV for about 4 months. I have one Apple TV (already in place). When we killed Comcast cable, I added Rokus to our other TVs (3). Went Roku to avoid the cost of 3 Apple TV’s.

Very happy with the setup. Roku w YTTV works fine. I far prefer the Roku remote over Apple TV remote. And, to your point, most importantly, my wife is also satisfied. Simple is good for her. Roku with YTTV is working well with the family.

Finally, we’ve had guests (elderly parents) and they’ve managed just fine with the Roku/YTTV. Not sure they would have done as well with the Apple TV remote. Good luck

We use YTTV, and have also used all other streaming services at one point. No guides are perfect, and to my knowledge none of them use a channel number format anymore.

My biggest complaint is the AppleTV Remote integration with the app is especially awful. I really wish that would be better (for pause, side scrolling, etc.).

Overall, it’s a great service though.

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Do you have to stream to Roku or is there an app? Wouldn’t want to have people have to start YTTV on their phones or pads then start casting…

No, no need to stream. There is a Roku app for YTTV. Simply turn on TV, wake up Roku and choose YTTV app.

I should also add, per your comments above re limited bandwidth, we also use YTTV at a vacation home with extremely limited bandwidth. 7-8 Mbps via DSL. Surprisingly, YTTV (and other streaming content) works fine, even at that bit rate. In that location I’m also using both legacy Apple TVs and a Roku stick. Both work fine.

Not that surprising, once you ignore the promotional flack of the ISPs for ever-increasing bandwidth. See for recommended speeds with Netflix, VUDU, HULU, Amazon Video, iTunes Video, or Youtube.

Lest you switch to Hulu Live out of disgust for the YouTube TV guide, rest assured that Hulu Live’s interface is also horrific. That’s what we have, but I’m considering a switch to YT despite my dislike of Google.

I’m interested in getting YouTube TV too. Has the Apple TV app improved at all since January?

As I mentioned here a year ago we don’t have an Apple TV but did have YouTube TV. It worked just fine but we dropped it a few months ago. Let’s call it double cutting the cord. Price of the service had gone from $40/mo to $50/mo and then $65/mo with more channels worthless to us. Frankly it had become another cable service.

Which service did you migrate to?

I didn’t migrate to any cable-like (live TV) service at all. We’ve got Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Apple TV. News comes from print (online) and some free streaming. We aren’t into sports. When there is a series we are particularly interested in we just buy it à la carte. And we’ve occasionally purchased single months of services to binge on what they have.

We found ourselves no longer watching network TV, and precious few “cable” shows. Might be because of our age (70’s) we aren’t in the target demographic for just about all of this stuff.