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6 tricks you may not know for watching YouTube videos on your TV – CNET

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Cast YouTube videos to your TV.

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The days of squinting at a YouTube video on your friend’s phone are almost over. You already know you can cast YouTube to your TV screen to play videos for a group, or use the YouTube TV app if you have a smart TV. It makes the YouTube experience so much better. But there are some more elusive features that can really help your YouTube viewing experience shine.

For example, did you know you can watch free movies on YouTube, and rent the latest releases? Not to mention, you can also cast these movies to the TV in your hotel room while you’re on vacation. So take advantage and check out these cool tricks you can do on a TV.

Watch free movies

YouTube has hundreds of free movies you can watch without a paid subscription. The options are limited, with many being older movies, and you may be able to find a few classics in the stack. The only catch is that you’ll have to watch ads. But hey, free full-length movies! We can’t be too judgy. You can check out YouTube’s full free listing.

This fall, YouTube Originals will be available to watch free (with ads) for all users, according to YouTube. So if you don’t see anything you want to watch now, you can always check back in the fall.

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Rent and watch free movies on YouTube.

Screenshot by Katie Conner/CNET

Rent the latest releases

If there’s a new movie you’ve been dying to see, like Avengers: Endgame, you can rent (or buy) it on YouTube. If you rent movies on your phone or computer, you’ll also be able to watch them on your TV. You can either pull the movie up on the YouTube app or cast it from your phone (see more below). You can check out the new releases here.

Control YouTube on TV with your voice

What remote? You can use your voice to cast YouTube videos to the big screen if you have a Google Home ($99 at Walmart) to pair with a Chromecast or an Android TV (starting at $330 at Best Buy). You’ll need to link your TV to your Google Home in order to get started. 

Once the two devices are connected, you can activate the Google Home by saying, “Hey, Google” or “OK, Google.” A couple examples of commands you can give: “Hey, Google, play Spider-Man: Far from Home trailer on living-room TV,” or, “OK, Google, play pilates videos on TV.” You can also tell your Google Home to pause, resume, skip and stop videos on your TV.

Take YouTube on vacation

You don’t want to miss out on your favorite YouTube influencer’s new vlog while you’re on vacation, and what better way than to watch it on a big screen. Of course, you can always watch the video on your phone or laptop, but the TV view is so much better. All you need is a Chromecast ($55 at eBay) or AirPlay-compatible device to start streaming those vlogs while on the go. 

The TV and your phone (or laptop, tablet) need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi in order for this to work. Once they’re paired, open the video you want to watch on the YouTube app, then tap on the Cast icon > select the device you want to cast to > tap Play. Voila! Your video is now playing on the TV.

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Cast YouTube movies and videos to a TV while on vacation.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Watch YouTube videos designed for the big screen

YouTube for TV (not to be confused with YouTube TV) has the following options: 

  • Recommended: Shows recommendations based on what you’ve watched in the past.
  • Entertainment: Has movie trailers, clips from your favorite shows and videos from your favorite influencers.
  • Gaming: The latest and what’s trending in the gaming world.
  • Music: You can watch official music videos, live performances and music stations picked for you. Listen to the top of the charts albums and new releases.
  • Latest: See what’s trending today, your daily top picks and featured playlists.
  • Originals: Available this fall — will have YouTube Originals series like Cobra Kai.
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Find purchases and content you saved on your phone

If you’ve bought something on YouTube or saved a video on your phone, it’s simple to find it on your TV. To find a video you saved, select Library from the homepage and scroll down to the Watch Later section. You can also access everything you’ve bought from the same screen, just scroll down until you see Purchases.

Want to know more YouTube tricks? See these nine hidden YouTube features we found and find out how to remove those annoying video suggestions that YouTube keeps showing you.

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