The experience of watching YouTube videos somehow keeps getting worse, and if you watch them on your smart TV, get ready to begin seeing a lot of unskippable 30-second ads before your video has even started. As if that isn’t bad enough, YouTube may also start showing you ads when you pause a video.
Fortunately, there are two ways out of this — you can pay for YouTube Premium (nah), or find a better alternative to the YouTube app.
Choose an app that will block YouTube ads on your smart TV
SmartTubeNext allows you to block ads on YouTube on devices running Android TV. It supports TVs with Chromecast built-in, Amazon’s Fire TV streaming sticks, Xiaomi’s Mi Box streaming device, Nvidia Shield, and many other Android TV streaming boxes. As long as you have a supported device, you can follow the instructions on SmartTubeNext’s GitHub page to install it.
You only need to manually install it once. After you’ve installed the app, it’ll be able to update itself. SmartTubeNext blocks all ads on YouTube and even has the SponsorBlock extension built-in, which means you will also be able to skip ad reads and other sponsored segments within videos by your favourite YouTube creators.
You can also use picture-in-picture mode for free with SmartTubeNext. This is great for those who like to watch YouTube videos while, say, streaming a live sports game from another app. The app also supports casting and voice search, and you should check its GitHub page for instructions on how to set it up for your device.
It’s important to note that SmartTubeNext works as a replacement for the YouTube app only. You cannot use it as a substitute for the YouTube TV app used watch live TV channels. And as good as SmartTubeNext sounds in theory, when you start using it, you may notice its interface is not as polished as Google’s official offering. That’s a small price to pay for getting rid of ads, though, especially since they seem to keep getting worse with each passing year.
You can also get YouTube Premium for cheap
If SmartTubeNext doesn’t work on your device, consider getting YouTube Premium — but use a workaround to get a better deal. Use a good VPN and open private browsing mode on your browser to find the best offers from other countries. For example, YouTube Premium costs less than $US2 ($3) per month in Argentina, India, and Turkey, as opposed to $US12 ($17) per month in the US.
Try your luck with subscribing to YouTube Premium from one of these regions, and you’ll be free of ads for good.