YouTube TV Overview: The Finest Channel Choice Bar None


YouTube TV

Extra channels than any competitor, and contains PBS

Excellent cloud DVR

Glorious on-screen interface and useful search bar
Do not like
$20 improve does not embrace a lot 4K content material

Pricier than Hulu’s reside plus on-demand content material bundle

Within the years since YouTube TV first launched, Google’s reside TV streaming service has constantly proved to be top-of-the-line, with a superior channel choice and an unbeatable person expertise. However with a latest enhance to $73 a month, the service has greater than doubled in worth. The general worth is not as simple because it as soon as was, particularly towards competitor Hulu Plus Stay TV.

YouTube TV’s principal energy for cord-cutters is its sheer variety of channels. It now gives 77 of the highest 100 networks, probably the most of any streaming service, a rely that features quite a few cable staples plus all 4 native networks — ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC — and native PBS stations nationwide. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Past channels, YouTube TV is straightforward to make use of: it is slick and speedy on quite a lot of TVs and cell gadgets. Its cloud DVR can also be top-of-the-line, with limitless storage and just about all of the capabilities of a {hardware} DVR. The service additionally gives a 4K streaming improve — for an extra $20 month-to-month — which, importantly, contains limitless simultaneous streams and downloadable DVR recordings.

The massive snag is the value, and in case you’re a cord-cutter, the cut-down Sling TV Blue at $40 a month is the easiest way to save cash. On the different finish of the spectrum, the $70 Hulu Plus Stay TV is a barely higher worth with the same mixture of channels and the addition of the modified Disney Bundle. That stated, in case you’re used to the myriad channels and straightforward DVR expertise of a cable service, YouTube TV’s base $73 bundle is well worth the cash. It is slick, straightforward to make use of and continues to be a superb deal for what you are getting.

What do you get?

YouTube TV is totally different from YouTube, the free video service with greater than 2 billion customers a month. YouTube TV gives an expertise much like cable TV, with reside channels and on-demand content material obtainable on quite a lot of gadgets. It really works with Apple TV,
, Android TV, Chromecast and Amazon Fireplace TV together with quite a few sensible TVs, 
, tablets, recreation consoles and internet browsers. 

The service operates in a lot the identical approach as its opponents: There is a program information, a DVR and dozens of channels. However what’s it that basically separates YouTube TV from competing premium ($60-plus a month) providers equivalent to DirecTV Stream, Hulu Plus Stay TV and FuboTV? Let’s have a look.

Premium providers in contrast

YouTube TVDirecTV Stream Hulu Plus Stay TVFuboTV Base worth $73/month$70/month$70/month $70/monthTotal variety of high 100 channels 77627356ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC channels YesYesYesYesRecord exhibits for later (cloud DVR) Sure (hold for 9 months)Sure (hold for 9 months)Sure (50 hours, 200 hours plus industrial skip for $10/month)Sure (250 hours)Step-up packages with extra channels No ($20/month for 4K, limitless streams, offline DVR downloads) YesYesYesSimultaneous streams per account 320 2 ($10 choice for limitless)3

YouTube TV’s channel choice is great, with extra from CNET’s listing of 100 high channels than another competitor (although Hulu is not too far behind). Nevertheless, extra channels do not essentially imply extra of what you need. Some providers, equivalent to FuboTV, lean closely on sports activities, whereas others are more and more expansive. It is best to verify the listing on the finish of this text, which compares particular person channels throughout providers, to make sure you’re getting the channels you need. Whereas opponents embrace various channel improve packages, YouTube contains every thing for one worth, although with one exception defined beneath.

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The service additionally contains 5.1 encompass sound, the place obtainable, for all subscribers (most opponents are solely in stereo) and an growth of the DVR search, which might now select particular sports activities (most helpful for occasions such because the Olympics).

What’s it like to make use of?

Screenshot by Ty Pendlebury/CNET

In comparison with some providers with multilevel interfaces, YouTube TV is pretty easy. There are three tabs on the high of the interface: Library, Dwelling and Stay. Library is the place your DVR content material lives, and House is the place featured and reside thumbnails seem. The Stay tab is a familiar-looking program grid that shows each at present taking part in and upcoming exhibits. You possibly can seek for content material from the highest of any web page, making it comparatively straightforward to leap straight to the programming you need. You may also carry out searches with a appropriate voice distant or Google Assistant. Although that is simpler in case you have an Android TV streamer, you possibly can additionally carry out searches in your Google Nest Mini and play it on a Roku, for instance.

The DVR works as you’d anticipate — each time-shifting reside content material and taking part in again recorded exhibits — and the system assigns your recorded content material to manageable classes, equivalent to not too long ago recorded and most considered. The DVR additionally contains the flexibility to rewind and fast-forward freely via recordings, even ones that are not but accomplished. The Roku interface gives a 15-second skip by default, whereas the Apple TV’s management system through the Siri Distant is even higher. You should use the touchpad to scroll via movies — and it is superb! It is a lot enjoyable, and auto-generated thumbnails make it comparatively straightforward to get to the half you need.

Up to now, when a present appeared in a community’s on-demand library, it might robotically substitute the model in your cloud DVR, that means you’d lose the flexibility to fast-forward via commercials. YouTube TV says it removed that restriction in October 2018, however some CNET readers have complained that it nonetheless happens at occasions. Moreover, YouTube TV’s DVR is not actually limitless — the exhibits will expire after 9 months (identical to Hulu), however that is nonetheless for much longer than the 30 days you get with most rivals.

Although Google used to combine YouTube into YouTube TV — with trailers and associated content material on a present’s About web page — this seems to now not be the case. Nevertheless, the corporate is regularly tweaking the interface, and we might even see YouTube content material seem once more in some unspecified time in the future.

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Is it well worth the $20 for 4K?

The 4K improve features a small choice of exhibits, however most are over two years previous.

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

In a phrase, no. There is not sufficient content material proper now to justify the $20 improve, however there’s one new characteristic which will show probably the most helpful, particularly for vacationers. Launched to coincide with the Olympics, YouTube TV’s $20 4K Plus add-on gives advantages, together with 4K sports activities and on-demand, a limiteless variety of simultaneous streams, and the flexibility to avoid wasting DVR recordings for offline cell viewing. For those who’re a frequent flyer or subway rider, the flexibility to observe prerecorded exhibits with out an energetic connection could possibly be an actual boon.

As per YouTube TV’s 4K web page, the extra content material contains exhibits from Discovery, ESPN, Fox Sports activities, FX, Nat Geo, NBC Sports activities and Tastemade. The interface features a 4K button to assist discover content material, however at current, this does not represent sufficient to stay round for. Along with a handful of exhibits, there’s Thursday Evening Soccer, “reside” Premier League soccer and faculty soccer on ESPN. The NCAA provides a bunch of 4K content material, however if you’d like soccer, 4K or a mixture of the 2, FuboTV gives much more sports activities for an $85 price ticket.

The 4K content material that’s obtainable, such because the cooking present Make This Tonight or the journey competitors present Fundamental Versus Baller, does look good, with higher distinction and colour than common broadcast TV. In context, although, the highest tier of Netflix is cheaper at $18 per 30 days and gives hundreds of hours of 4K content material alone, plus offline viewing.

Consider it as a cable alternative

When it initially appeared for $35, YouTube TV was an exceedingly engaging approach to save cash over cable. But because the service has piled on extra channels, it is added additional prices. So, if you take that $73 month-to-month price and apply it to the $50 you are already paying for web service, it means you are paying over $120 a month. Many cable TV suppliers gives you a TV-and-internet bundle for across the identical cash. Learn extra right here: Is Streaming Really Cheaper Than Cable? We Do the Math.

Costs range lots, after all, and with cable, you in all probability must pay rental gear charges, taxes and different extras. And cable suppliers often reserve the very best bundle pricing for individuals who signal a contract. The identical goes for “streaming” choices, equivalent to Comcast’s Xfinity Flex. The explanation you need to minimize cable within the first place stays.

Like Hulu with Stay TV, Sling TV and others, YouTube TV is contract-free, so you possibly can cancel anytime. Streaming providers additionally produce other benefits over cable. They’re simpler to observe on telephones and tablets, for instance. At $73 per 30 days, nonetheless, you may must be coming from a comparatively costly cable invoice to understand substantial financial savings with YouTube TV. 

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The service comes with a complete program information.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Do you have to get YouTube TV?

If worth isn’t any object, YouTube TV goes neck and neck with Hulu Plus Stay TV because the premier reside TV streaming service, with an enormous array of leisure choices and top-of-the-line DVR/search combos available on the market. It gives extra channels than anybody else and its 5.1 encompass is nice for sports activities and film followers. For those who do not need to be beholden to a conventional cable firm, it is a fantastic different. 

Although $73 a month is a tricky expenditure for some individuals, and not using a contract to fret about, you are free to leap ship to a greater deal at any time. The additional $20 on high is just a bridge too far for thus little 4K content material, even when limitless streams and DVR downloads are helpful for prolonged households or vacationers. In order for you the very best bang in your buck, then Hulu Plus Stay TV’s Disney bundle is pretty unbeatable.

Lastly, in case you’re a hard-core cord-cutter and decided to save cash, Sling TV Blue gives a compelling different, particularly when paired with an antenna or an AirTV 2. 

Under, you may discover a comparability of the highest 100 channels supplied by a number of of YouTube TV’s opponents. For extra info and comparisons with further providers, try the total article.

Sure = The channel is out there on the most affordable pricing tier.
No = The channel is not obtainable in any respect on that service. 
$ = The channel is out there for an additional price, both a la carte or as a part of a dearer bundle or add-on. 
Not each channel a service carries is listed, simply the “high 100” as decided by CNET’s editors. Minor channels equivalent to AXS TV, CNBC World, Discovery Life, GSN, POP and Common Youngsters did not make the minimize.Regional sports activities networks — channels dedicated to exhibiting regular-season video games of explicit professional baseball, basketball and hockey groups — aren’t listed. 

High 100 channels in contrast

ChannelPhilo ($25)Sling Orange ($40)Sling Blue ($40)Hulu with Stay TV ($70)YouTube TV ($73)FuboTV ($75)DirecTV Stream ($75) Whole channels 43243573775662ABC NoNoNoYesYesYesYesCBS NoNoNoYesYesYesYesFox NoNoYesYesYesYesYesNBC NoNoYesYesYesYesYesPBS NoNoNoNoYesNoYesCW NoNoNoYesYesYesYesMyNetworkTV NoNoNoYesYesNoYesA&E YesYesYesYesNoNoYesACC Community No$NoYesYesYes$Accuweather YesNoNoNoNoYesYesAMC YesYesYesNoYesNoYesAnimal Planet YesNoNoYesYesYesYesBBC America YesYesYesNoYesNoYesBBC World Information Sure$$NoYesNo$BET YesYesYesYesYesYesYesBig Ten Community NoNo$YesYesYes$Bloomberg TV YesYesYesYesNoYesYesBoomerang No$$YesNoNoYesBravo NoNoYesYesYesYesYesCartoon Community NoYesYesYesYesNoYesCBS Sports activities Community NoNoNoYesYesYes$Cheddar YesNoNoYesYesYes$Cinemax NoNoNo$$No$CMT Sure$$YesYesYesYesCNBC NoNo$YesYesYesYesCNN NoYesYesYesYesNoYesComedy Central YesYesYesYesYesYesYesCooking Channel Sure$$$No$$Vacation spot America Sure$$$No$$Discovery Channel YesNoYesYesYesYesYesDisney Channel NoYesNoYesYesYesYesDisney Junior No$NoYesYesYesYesDisney XD No$NoYesYesYesYesE! NoNoYesYesYesYesYesEPIX $$$No$No$ESPN NoYesNoYesYesYesYesESPN 2 NoYesNoYesYesYesYesESPNEWS No$NoYesYes$$ESPNU No$NoYesYes$$Meals Community YesYesYesYesYesYesYesFox Enterprise NoNo$YesYesYesYesFox Information NoNoYesYesYesYesYesFS1 NoNoYesYesYesYesYesFS2 NoNo$YesYesYes$Freeform NoYesNoYesYesYesYesFX NoNoYesYesYesYesYesFX Motion pictures NoNo$YesYes$$FXX NoNo$YesYesYesYesFYI Sure$$YesNoNo$Golf Channel NoNo$YesYesYes$Hallmark Sure$$YesYesYesYesHBO/HBO Max NoNoNo$$No$HGTV YesYesYesYesYesYesYesHistory YesYesYesYesNoNoYesHLN No$YesYesYesNoYesIFC YesYesYesNoYesNoYesInvestigation Discovery YesYesYesYesYesYesYesLifetime YesYesYesYesNoNoYesLifetime Film Community Sure$$YesNoNo$Magnolia Community Sure$$$NoYes$MLB Community No$$NoNo$$Motor Development YesYesNoYesYesYesYesMSNBC NoNoYesYesYesYesYesMTV Sure$$YesYesYesYesMTV2 Sure$$$Sure$YesNational Geographic NoNoYesYesYesYesYesNat Geo Wild NoNo$YesYes$$NBA TV No$$NoYes$$NFL Community NoNoYesYesYesYesNoNFL Pink Zone NoNo$$$$NoNHL Community No$$NoNo$$Nickelodeon YesNoNoYesYesYesYesNick Jr. YesYesYesYesYesYes$Nicktoons Sure$$$Sure$$OWN YesNoNoYesYesYes$Oxygen NoNo$YesYesYes$Paramount Community Sure$$YesYesYesYesScience Sure$$$No$$SEC Community No$NoYesYes$$Showtime No$$$$$$Smithsonian YesNoNoYesYesYes$Starz $$$$$$$Sundance TV Sure$$NoYesNoYesSyfy NoNoYesYesYesYesYesTastemade Sure$$NoYesYes$TBS NoYesYesYesYesNoYesTCM No$$YesYesNoYesTeenNick Sure$$$Sure$YesTelemundo NoNoNoYesYesYes$Tennis Channel No$$NoNo$$TLC YesNoYesYesYesYesYesTNT NoYesYesYesYesNoYesTravel Channel YesYesYesYesYesYes$TruTV No$YesYesYesNoYesTV Land Sure$$YesYesYesYesUSA Community NoNoYesYesYesYesYesVH1 Sure$$YesYesYesYesVice YesYesYesYesNoNoYesWE television Sure$$NoYesNoYes

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