What is YouTube TV?
YouTube TV is a video streaming service that lets viewers watch live TV and subscribe to on-demand channels. It is owned by YouTube — a subsidiary of Google. But it is technically a completely separate service from the popular video site. Instead, YouTube TV provides a cable-like experience with around 80 live channels — the exact number of offerings varies by location. It also has add-on products that enable subscribers to widen their viewing options.
The service launched in April 2017, broadcasting national networks and a variety of entertainment, news, and sports channels to people in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. As of March 2019, it is now available nationwide. The service currently has more than two million subscribers in the US.
YouTube TV costs $49.99/mo. — significantly less than most people pay for cable TV. It also comes in below the price points of similar streaming services like Hulu + Live TV and fuboTV (both $54.99/mo.)
YouTube TV plans and pricing
|Free trial length||7 days|
|Number of TV shows and films||80|
|Live sports streaming? (Y)||Yes|
|Movie rentals? (Y/N)||No|
YouTube supported devices
YouTube TV subscribers can watch the streaming service on any device that supports its app. Other viewing options include computer and laptop web browsers. YouTube TV is compatible with the following devices:
- Amazon Fire TV cube
- Amazon Fire TV stick
- Android L or later
- Apple iOS 11 or later
- Apple TV
- Google Chromecast
- Hisense, LG, Sharp, and Vizio SmartCast Smart TVs
- PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4
- Web browsers: Google Chrome, Firefox
- Xbox One
What to watch on YouTube TV
YouTube TV provides subscribers with a wide range of channels to watch. It covers the following content categories:
- Life + Style
YouTube TV has plenty of ways for subscribers to stay on top of the latest events with live streams of major channels and national networks such as ABC, BBC America, CNN, CNN International, FOX News, MSNBC, and NBC. Popular entertainment channels like AMC, Bravo, FX, and USA are also available.
It also has plenty of choice when it comes to sports. It even carries ESPN — an option not available with fuboTV. Other sports channels include CBS Sports, FOX Sports, and NBC Sports Network. The streaming service provides access to sports-specific channels like ACC Network, Big Ten Network, Golf Channel, MLB Network, NBA TV, Olympic Channel, and Tennis Channel. More sports options are available by purchasing FOX Soccer Plus ($15/mo.) and NBA League Pass ($40/mo.) as add-ons.
The platform also offers several movie options through channels such as EPIX, TNT, and Turner Classic Movies. And there is plenty of entertainment viewing through Discovery Channel, Food Network, HGTV, and Travel Channel.
YouTube TV subscribers can add extra entertainment viewing options by purchasing add-on channels Showtime ($7/mo.) and Starz ($9/mo). Further content add-ons include Acorn ($6/mo.), AMC Premiere ($5/mo.), CuriosityStream ($3/mo.), and Sundance Now ($7/mo.). The service began offering Cinemax and HBO as add-ons in February 2020. And HBO Max will be available when the new streaming service launches in Spring 2020.
YouTube TV features
YouTube TV’s Cloud DVR service enables subscribers to store unlimited amounts of shows for up to nine months with no limits on simultaneous recordings. In comparison, Hulu + Live TV provides 50 hours of storage, which can be upgraded to 200 hours for an extra $9.99/mo. with Enhanced Cloud DVR.
YouTube TV subscribers can create six user profiles per account, with each receiving personalized show recommendations and a customizable live guide. Each user profile also gets its own space for recording content, and YouTube TV enables users to watch on three simultaneous streams.
Users can place restrictions on who can watch what — such as limiting children’s viewing to content from the Kids Hub. They can also manage content access by turning on the “Allow TV-Y, TV-G, G, and PG only” setting. The service permits subscribers to block content and turn off search options.
YouTube TV features a simple user interface that is broken into three central tabs, Library, Home, and Live. Recorded content is kept in the Library section, Home provides an overview of YouTube TV’s featured content, and the Live tab contains a TV guide that lists currently playing and upcoming shows. The interface also has a search bar at the top of every page, which makes it simple for viewers to find things to watch. Users can skip ads on recorded content, but not during live streams.
The final cut
YouTube TV is an appealing option for people looking to cut the cable cord. It offers a strong line-up of live TV channels and covers several programming bases with entertainment, lifestyle, news, and sports channels. It also gives subscribers the option of extending their streaming options by purchasing add-ons.
The service also provides a solid user experience. This includes unlimited cloud DVR storage for 9 months — a perk no other live streaming service can match. Users can also personalize their account with up to six profiles, restrict the content that is available to specific individual viewers, and take advantage of three simultaneous streams. YouTube TV offers a 7-day free trial so potential subscribers can try before they buy.
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