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Could YouTube TV Offer Access to Content Offline?

Jeff Kotuby

While it’s become the norm for streaming services to offer offline downloads, the same can’t be said for Live TV Streaming Services. According to 9to5Google, that might change with the latest update to YouTube TV.

In the latest update to the app on Android (5.06.2), they spotted various hints in the naming conventions for some of their notifications – that offline mode might be coming. The app will generate a message stating, “Looking for incomplete downloads,” similar to those used by YouTube and the YouTube music apps. While you can’t download anything quite yet, the alerts seem to indicate that some sort of downloading functionality may be coming.

9to5Google went through the app’s code and found further indications of offline download functionality. There’s a string for a download button, a downloading bar, and a “waiting” text prompt. They speculate about offline indicators and a download section, though this isn’t in the final version of the app.

It remains to be seen exactly what content will be available for download, as the YouTube app sometimes restricts content for download.

Should offline functionality come to fruition, YouTube TV would be among the first of the Live TV Streaming Services to allow users to download content for later viewing. Xfinity X1 subscribers can download DVR-ed content to the Xfinity Stream App, but other Live TV Streaming Services like fuboTV, Hulu Live TV, Sling TV, and AT&T TV – don’t offer this functionality. TiVo first offered functionality similar to this as early as 2012.

With most streaming services only offering offline downloads for ad-free content, it will be interesting to see if YouTube TV rolls this out – how they would handle it – and whether it would support both your Cloud DVR and on-demand content.

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