Searching for the best TV service for your viewing habits?
YouTube TV just launched in 2017, which means you've probably heard a lot of buzz about it and want all the deets on whether it's worth the hype. You're in the right place.
Compare Now: YouTube TV Plans & Packages
We're going to take a look at the channel lineup, price, and features of this fledgling streaming TV service.
Plus we'll talk about why cord cutters may just be onto something and what to consider before starting up your YouTube TV subscription.
Table of Contents
Key Considerations When Choosing a Streaming Service
Keep these factors in mind before you sign up:
- Price: Live TV streaming services range from under $10 to over $70 a month. Keep an eye on the monthly cost, especially if you think you'll need more than one subscription.
- Content: Check out the channel lineup and on-demand content before subscribing. Each service is a little different, with some offering a complete cable-like selection and others - like Philo TV - with a very narrow focus. Make sure you're getting your favorite shows.
- Free trial/discounts: Take advantage of the free trials offered by most providers. This gives you a chance to really get a feel for how the service works and whether you'll be happy with it. Also watch for discounts and promotional offers.
- Internet speed: You'll need a high-speed internet connection if you don't have one already. Netflix recommends a bare minimum of 3 Mbps for streaming in SD and 5 Mbps for HD streaming.
FYI - the YouTube TV free trial is seven days long.
This streaming provider has been known to offer a longer free trial from time to time, so you might just luck out depending upon when you sign up for YouTube TV.
YouTube TV Plans
YouTube keeps things simple with one plan choice.
We'll keep things simple too by telling you upfront - YouTube TV is strong on sports and weak on lifestyle.
- Local channels include ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC
- A wide range of sports channels - Big Ten Network, ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports 1 and 2, Los Angeles Football Club, MLB Network, NBA TV, NBCSN, the Tennis Channel, and the Olympic Channel, plus more
- Very limited options for kids - basically just Cartoon Network, Disney, Disney Jr., and Disney XD
- Decent general entertainment options - Bravo, CW, E!, FX FXX, FXM, TCM, etc.
- No Comedy Central, Food Network, or HGTV
While the glaring omission of two major lifestyle networks - Food and HGTV - is annoying, YouTube has consistently added channels over their short lifespan. So hopefully improvements will continue on that front.
In the meantime, you do get a pretty good selection of broadcast and cable networks to choose from.
Check out the complete YouTube TV channels list.
YouTube TV Prices
One plan, one price. And it's about middle of the road compared to other streaming TV services.
Your YouTube TV price will, of course, go up if you add any of the extra options onto your package. We'll look at those next.
First off, you get unlimited DVR storage - that's a big plus over other providers.
You can also add a number of extras on for an additional monthly fee:
- AMC Premiere
- Curiosity Stream
- Fox Soccer Plus
- NBA League Pass
- Sundance Now
As you can see, you'll have to go elsewhere for things like HBO and NFL RedZone.
YouTube TV Compatible Devices
As you might expect, you can watch YouTube TV on most of the common streaming devices:
- Apple TV (4th gen and higher)
- Google Chromecast (first gen users may experience glitches)
- Android phones and tablets
- Apple iPhone and iPad
- Samsung and LG Smart TVs (2016 and newer)
- Xbox One, Xbox One S, and Xbox One X
You can also watch from Chrome or Firefox.
YouTube TV User Experience
So how is the interface? Reports are encouraging.
- Live previews play on the homepage, giving you a feel for what's on without any extra clicks.
- The search feature is as rich as you'd expect from a Google-owned company.
- It's well-organized, with a structure slightly reminiscent of Netflix.
On the downside, that oh-so-alluring unlimited cloud DVR comes with a caveat. In some cases, you will be watching an on-demand version of your show rather than a "recorded" one. That means (you guessed it!) ads.
Benefits of Streaming TV
33 million people and counting have severed ties from traditional cable television (TechCrunch). There are several good reasons so many consumers are cutting the cord:
- Savings: Done wisely, switching to streaming TV can save you hundreds of dollars per year, without sacrificing your favorite TV shows, sports, and movie options.
- Flexibility: You aren't limited by what your local cable company decides to offer. Pick and choose your own entertainment from a wide variety of streaming services available in the United States.
- No contracts: The days of being tied to your TV provider for at least a year - many times two - are over. Pay month-to-month for your live TV and cancel any time you wish. Plus, no cable box required!
The best streaming TV providers also offer something else - a superior viewing experience. You get streamlined, innovative interfaces that make watching TV more enjoyable and convenient.
YouTube TV is like a child, in a way. It's beautiful and full of promise - but it hasn't reached its full potential.
In addition, the YouTube TV cost is a bit higher than some providers that offer more channel variety. The truth may be that the company is relying somewhat upon its name and prestige to justify the price tag, rather than only on the merit of its content.
Still, YouTube's streaming entry has plenty to offer the right customer:
- It's a solid option for sports fans.
- Show collectors will love the unlimited storage space YouTube TV offers with its cloud DVR.
- You can watch live or access video on demand.
- You get six user accounts, each with their own login and personalized DVR.
Lastly, see what real customers have to say in our YouTube TV reviews!
Compare Now: YouTube TV Plans & Packages