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One of the reasons cord-cutting exploded in the first place was simplicity. Over the course of decades, cable packages had grown expensive and bloated, making consumers long for another option. Now that streaming TV is starting to take over these same problems are coming back. But some companies have learned from the past, keeping things simple while providing a host of options. YouTube TV is one of the most straightforward streaming TV services on the market, but is it worth your hard-earned dollars? Here’s everything you need to know about YouTube TV.
- YouTube TV plans and pricing
- How to sign up for YouTube TV
- YouTube TV streaming devices
- What is on YouTube TV?
- YouTube TV local channels
- YouTube TV add-ons
- YouTube TV Premium Channels
- YouTube TV DVR and multiple screens
- YouTube TV vs. The Competition
- Is YouTube TV worth it?
YouTube TV plans and pricing
One of the best aspects of YouTube TV is the time you’ll save picking a package, because the company only offers one. YouTube TV service costs $49.99 per month for a 70-plus channel lineup featuring some of the biggest channels on the market. Families will appreciate big names like Animal Planet, Cartoon Network, all three Disney channels, Food, and PBS Kids.
Sports fans can rest easy knowing they’ll never miss a big game, thanks to one of the best sports packages in streaming. The package comes with sports favorites like ESPN, FS1, MLB Network, and NBA TV while also making space for college sports networks and top-flight soccer.
Looking for more grown-up entertainment? You’ll find FX, AMC, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Adult Swim, and more ready and waiting. There are certainly a few channels in the lineup that will make you say “huh?” such as the Orlando Channel, but for the most part, YouTube TV’s lineup is killer from top to bottom. There are even local channels which we’ll cover a little more deeply later.
How to Sign-up for YouTube TV
Thanks to the ubiquitous nature of Google, getting started with YouTube TV is a breeze. Here’s how it works.
- Visit the YouTube TV site and select the “Try It Free” button. This will set you up with a five-day free trial.
- On the next page, you’ll find a Google account login. Because YouTube TV is owned by Google, you use your existing Gmail account to log in.
- Once you log in, YouTube TV will guess the city you live in and ask you to confirm your area code.
- Before you start your free trial, YouTube TV does something unlike any other streaming TV service: It lets you look around. Browse around the YouTube TV site and search your favorite movies, TV shows, and channels to see if they offer what you’re interested in. Once you’re done, select the “Start Free Trial” option at the top of the page.
- YouTube TV will walk you through what channels will come with the package in your area. Once you’re done, select “Next.”
- YouTube TV will ask if you want to add any premium channels. Select the ones you want and hit “Next.”
- Enter your payment information and select “Buy.” You’re now ready to start watching YouTube TV.
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- The 25 most-subscribed-to YouTube channels
YouTube TV Streaming Devices
Part of what makes YouTube TV great is that it works on every major streaming device on the market. Here’s everything you can use to start watching.
- Android TV
- Samsung Smart TVs
- LG Smart TVs
- Vizio SmartCast TVs
- Hisense Smart TVs
- Sharp Smart TVs
- Google Chromecast
- Apple TV
- Xbox One
- PlayStation 3
- PlayStation 4
What is on YouTube TV?
YouTube TV Originals
While YouTube TV doesn’t make any of its own original shows, YouTube TV subscribers get access to YouTube Red. YouTube Red is the company’s in-house production house, making original series and movies with celebrities and YouTube personalities. Technically this isn’t YouTube TV content, but it’s included with your subscription so it counts.
YouTube TV Channels
With over 70 channels to choose from, there’s always something to watch or discovery on YouTube TV. Here’s what you get with your subscription. Note that local channel availability depends on where you live.
YouTube TV Channels
|Adult Swim||Animal Planet||BBC America|
|BBC World News||BTN||Bravo|
|CBS Sports Network||CNBC||CNBC World|
|CNN||Cartoon Network||Cheddar Big News|
|Cheddar Business||Cheddar News||Comet TV|
|Disney Junior||Disney XD||E!|
|ESPNews||Fox Business||Fox News Channel|
|Fox Sports||Freeform||Golf Channel|
|Investigation Discovery||LAFC||Local Now|
|MLB Game of the Week||MLB Network||MSNBC|
|NBC Sports||NBC Universo||NBCSN|
|Olympics Channel||Orlando City||Oxygen|
|SEC ESPN Network||SNY||Smithsonian Channel|
|Start TV||Sundance TV||Syfy|
|Telemundo||Tennis Channel||The CW|
|Universal Kids||WE TV||YES|
|YES Network||YouTube Originals|
YouTube TV local channels
Local TV channels are the only real downside of streaming TV, but thankfully YouTube TV is better than most. For the most part, YouTube TV subscribers will be able to access every major local broadcast network. However, there are some exceptions due to local licensing issues around the country. To see what local channels would come with your YouTube TV package enter your zip code here.
YouTube TV add-ons
One frustrating aspect of YouTube TV is the lack of big premium movie channels like HBO and Cinemax. But that doesn’t mean the service don’t have plenty of add-ons to choose from. Here are all the ways you can augment your YouTube TV subscription.
- Acorn: $6 per month
- AMC Premiere: $5 per month
- Curiosity Stream: $3 per month
- Epix: $6 per month
- Fox Soccer Plus: $15 per month
- NBA League Pass: $40 per month
- Showtime: $7 per month (originally $11 per month)
- Shudder: $6 per month
- STARZ: $9 per month
- Sundance Now: $7 per month
- UMC: $5 per month
- Urban Movie Channel: $5 per month
YouTube TV DVR and multiple screens
Of all the streaming TV services, YouTube TV has the most generous DVR on the market. Users gets unlimited DVR space as part of their accounts. Even better, each account can have up to six separate user profiles, each of which also gets its own unlimited DVR. That means you’ll never have to worry about a member of the family accidentally recording over your favorite shows.
While YouTube TV allows up to six different user profiles it limits the number of people who can use it at once. YouTube TV subscribers can only stream on up to three different devices simultaneously. If you have a big family the kids might have to share.
YouTube TV on-demand and offline content
Like all streaming TV services, YouTube TV draws its on-demand content from the channels in your package. There are thousands of movies and TV shows to choose from, though it’s ultimately up to the networks to determine what is included. Some networks only include the three most recently aired episodes, while others offer full seasons of shows. You’ll need to browse around to see what’s offered.
There is currently no offline content offered on YouTube TV.
YouTube TV vs. The Competition
YouTube TV vs. Sling TV
When looking at streaming TV services, you need to think about what you need from your package. Is cost the most important thing? Or will you splurge for a slightly nicer package? Sling TV offers smaller packages of channels at a discount from normal streaming TV packages, starting at $30 per month and topping out at $45 per month. For just $30 a month, for example, you can get 47 channels with Sling Blue. It’s a great deal.
But if you’re looking for more, the deals start to look a little less sterling. The $45 Sling Orange + Blue package includes 53 channels and DVR. But that’s also only $5 cheaper than YouTube TV charges for 70+ channels. YouTube TV also includes unlimited DVR, where Sling gives you just 10 hours. Unless you’re trying to get by on a budget, YouTube TV is the clear winner.
YouTube TV vs. AT&T TV Now
Once upon a time, DirecTV Now was the best streaming TV service on the market, but those days are over. Now under the name AT&T TV Now, the service costs more to start than anyone else around, with frustrating gaps in its coverage. A basic package starts at $65 per month with fewer channels than YouTube TV and less DVR storage space. Save money, and get more while you do it, with YouTube TV.
YouTube TV vs. FuboTV
Interestingly, the closest competitor YouTube TV has is the quickly-growing upstart, FuboTV. For $59.99 per month, FuboTV gives subscribers 100+ channels, including local channels and cloud DVR. Membership also comes with 30 hours of cloud DVR, though more can be added for $9.99 per month.
Where FuboTV really shines is sports, with a number of channels covering games and matches around the globe. Want to watch sports in 4K? FuboTV is the only streaming TV option that lets you, even though its selection is limited. However, Fubo doesn’t have ESPN’s channels, and YouTube TV does.
The question ultimately comes down to price. Each service has its own charms, and while FuboTV has way more channels you might end up asking exactly how many channels you need. At $49.99 per month and unlimited DVR, YouTube TV is in the sweet spot of pricing and features. But if you don’t mind paying extra for one of the best sports packages around, FuboTV is a great deal.
YouTube TV vs. Hulu with Live TV
Hulu with Live TV is an incredible service with a comparable price to YouTube TV. While YouTube TV offers more channels, 70+ to Hulu’s 60+, when it comes to the major channels they’re the same. Hulu offers far less DVR, just 50 hours, but otherwise these packages are very similar. The question ultimately comes down to on-demand content. Hulu with Live TV includes access to the Hulu streaming service, effectively giving it the largest on-demand library in streaming TV. But YouTube TV comes with unlimited DVR space and slightly more channels. Personally, we prefer Hulu with Live TV to YouTube TV, due to the addition of Hulu streaming. But it’s a truly close call, and for many viewers, YouTube TV will be the superior service.
Is YouTube TV worth it?
YouTube TV is one of the premier streaming TV services on the market today. It’s simple to understand, simple to sign up for, and simple to use. Most importantly it offers a ton of features and channels at a fair price. There are definitely more niche streaming TV services out there that for people who need a more customizable package. But for the average cable fan looking to make the jump to streaming TV, YouTube TV is hard to beat.
For more information, check out our complete YouTube TV guide here.
New to cord-cutting? Here are our picks for the best movie streaming sites of 2019 and free live TV apps and channels. If you’re looking for premium services, here’s how to watch HBO, Showtime, and Starz online. Want a specific channel? Here’s how to stream A&E, AMC, Animal Planet, BBC, Bravo, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, CNN, CNBC, C-SPAN, Comedy Central, the CW, Discovery, Disney Channel, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, Food Network, Fox News, Freeform, FS1 and FS2, FX, Golf Channel, Hallmark, HGTV, History Channel, HLN, Lifetime, MSNBC, MTV, National Geographic, NBA TV, Nickelodeon, PBS, Sundance TV, Syfy, TBS, Tennis Channel, TLC, TNT, the Weather Channel, Willow, VH1, and NFL RedZone without cable, as well as free movies on YouTube. If you’re on the move, here’s how to watch Fox Sports Go and live stream NBC Sports. m NBC Sports.
Austin Powell is the former managing editor of the Daily Dot. His work focuses on the intersection of entertainment and technology. He previously served as a music columnist for the Austin Chronicle and is the co-author of The Austin Chronicle Music Anthology.