Youtube TV is Google’s live online television platform, which aims to be a competitor in a similar fashion to services like Sling TV, AT&T TV and Hulu + Live TV, while also in competition with traditional cable services to attract users looking to cut the cord for good.
Users will be able to choose from a wide selection of live shows, with the base package starting at $50 per month. As well as live network content, it also includes the ability to watch shows on demand. It may look to be a premium price for just the basic package, but Google distinguishes itself from competitors with unique tools like cloud-based DVR to make it worth it for potential customers.
What are the Features of YouTube TV?
YouTube TV has expanded significantly since its initial launch in 2017. While it was originally a very restricted service available in only a small number of North American locations, it has now expanded availability to cover the entirety of the United States market. It is currently still unavailable internationally, and there don’t seem to be any plans on the horizon yet.
While this expansion is a good thing, the range of available channels still doesn’t quite have the wide selection of some of its main competitors, such as Sling TV and AT&T. It’s lacking in a few popular networks such as Comedy Central, and some others, like The CW, are still limited by location. That said, it still offers a pretty good lineup, which includes NBC, CBC, ABC and Fox, cable networks like TNT, TBS, FX and ESPN, and many others totalling to over 60 network options.
Google doesn’t combine its live service into an all-in-one streaming platform, but rather keeps this service on a separate server that runs independently from YouTube. This is unlike services such as Hulu, which packages everything into one service. That means even if you already have the YouTube app installed on whatever you use to stream, you’ll need to install another to watch YouTube TV. Each membership subscription may have up to six different accounts, but only three different people will be able to stream at the same time.
The cloud DVR storage feature is an attractive offer, since it has no restrictions on storage space, though any recordings you make will still expire after nine months. Though a handful of networks have restricted this option, ads can mostly become a thing of the past as you will have the ability to skip them on any past recordings.
What Devices are Supported?
While YouTube TV has wide support for Android and iOS phones and tablets, there are some limitations regarding support on other common devices. You will need a separate streaming stick, or need to connect a set-top box with the ability to stream in order to use it on most 4K TVs, which lack out- of-the-box functionality with this service. When it comes to consoles, you’re out of luck if you have a PlayStation 4, as Sony restricts you to PlayStation Vue as your only live TV option. It is, however, supported on Xbox One, Xbox One S and X. It’s also fully supported on streaming media players like Roku, Apple TV, and of course, Google’s Chromecast, as well as most leading smart TV brands such as Sharp, Samsung and LG.
What This Means for YouTube and its Users
The arrival of this new service means another place to watch YouTube originals other than directly on YouTube’s standard platform. Some users of YouTube Premium, which is currently only $11.99 a month, may think this is cause for concern that they will no longer have access to exclusive content that may be locked behind the relatively steep paywall of YouTube TV. While this is a potential development in the future, right now there is no exclusive content that you can’t get elsewhere.
Another notable point is that YouTube Premium is not bundled in with this offer, and the two remain entirely separate services, with no currently available discount or perks for people who already have a premium subscription. Users of this shouldn’t cancel their accounts with the assumption they will be able to get everything.
If you’re curious about Google’s new live TV option and don’t want to drop $50, there’s a one-week free trial available to see if the service is for you. Register on a desktop browser to check it out.