YouTube TV is ruining one of its best features

Youtube TV app on Apple TV home screen
(Image credit: Future)

YouTube TV isn't just one of the best live TV streaming services, it's also one of the most relaxing. But that honorific is slowly eroding, thanks to advertisements.

If you haven't noticed this change already, you may during your next ad break. Redditor u/marcusdiddle spotted this during a recent "moment of zen" videos that plays during the commercial break. These calming videos usually fill vacant periods of time during ad breaks, and now they too will feature ads. User u/kdskier232 reported the same problem.

The example shared features the text "This break brought to you by Progressive" with the insurance company's logo. It's overlaid on top of an overhead shot of an area with many trees, some bodies of water and mountains in the distance. 

User marcusdiddle claims they saw this after clicking the "skip ad" button, and didn't mention if this was done for live TV or on-demand programming. Here's the visual shared in the Reddit post:

A Progressive ad displays on top of a "moment of zen" ad break on YouTube TV

(Image credit: Imgur / Redditor u/marcusdiddle)

Outlook: This was inevitable

As contradictory as this is — whoever said "marketing is totally zen?" — I'm not shocked. This change arrives in an annoying moment for streaming services. Most of the best cable TV alternatives and best streaming services raised their prices recently (Peacock is one of the few remaining at its 2021 price).

On top of that, the Netflix password-sharing crackdown continues to shake all the change out of the sofa cushions (i.e. us) it can. This all adds up to a moment where it's clear that streaming services will now feature all the monetization methods possible, so putting ads in a once ad-free zone isn't entirely a shocker.

As long as these ads only show logos, and don't feature Progressive spokesperson Flo (Stephanie Courtney) debating things with her colleagues, they're still an upgrade from actual ads. I'm personally just surprised that Netflix held onto the 'zen' ad breaks. I currently subscribe to rival Hulu + Live TV, which offers no such perk. 

If this move helps prevent an additional YouTube TV price increase, it's definitely for the best. But it's still annoying how YouTube TV's willing to water down the ways it stands out.

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Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.