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Just a few short years ago, there was a dearth of quality television streaming options for people desperate to cut the cord. If you wanted to watch live TV in any way, shape, or form, you needed to splash out on a costly cable subscription. Which was frustrating.
What exactly is YouTube TV? What will you get if you sign up? Are there any additional features that set YouTube TV apart from its competitors? We have the answers to all of these questions and more besides, so keep reading to find out everything you need to know.
What Channels Does YouTube TV Include?
The most important aspect of any entertainment package is what you get for your money. You need to be confident you’re going to enjoy the channels you’re paying for.
YouTube TV will give you access to live TV from more than 40 providers. You will receive content from most of the biggest broadcast networks — including ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox — sports coverage from ESPN, popular cable networks such as FX, USA, and MSNBC, and several regional sports networks. Additional local channels will also be available in certain locations.
It’s live TV designed for the YouTube generation. Those who want to watch what they want, when they want, how they want, without commitments.
— Christian Oestlien, YouTube Product Management Director
Despite this impressive list of channels, there are some notable omissions. However, according to The Wall Street Journal, Discovery, Viacom (Comedy Central and MTV), AMC, and Scripps (The Food Network) are all in talks with YouTube to be added to the service.
Discovery, Viacom, AMC & Scripps still in talks to be added to YouTube TV service. Shows they're not must-have. https://t.co/sYoNHdIBiv
— Miriam Gottfried (@miriamgottfried) March 1, 2017
At the time of writing, there are unfortunately no plans to add Time Warner’s three most popular channels, CNN, TNT, and HBO.
What About Other Content?
YouTube TV isn’t all about live television. You’ll also be given access to YouTube Red.
YouTube Red is YouTube’s existing subscription package. Rather than providing live TV, it offers “Red Originals.” Theses are exclusive shows and movies produced solely for subscribers. Some of the platform’s biggest stars are involved, including PewDiePie, Lilly Singh, and Rooster Teeth.
There’s no question millennials love great TV content. But what we’ve seen is they don’t want to watch it in the traditional setting. We want to give younger generations the content they love with the flexibility they expect.
— Susan Wojcicki, YouTube Chief Executive
YouTube Red also removes ads from all YouTube videos, but it appears that, for the time being at least, this feature won’t be included in a YouTube TV subscription.
There are also rumors Google will link its new service with its Spotify competitor, Google Play Music. Subscribers to YouTube Red already get Play Music access and vice versa. Google has not commented on these rumors.
What Other Features Does YouTube TV Offer?
There is one other standout feature which Google hopes will convince people to make the jump from both regular cable and its on-demand competitors: a cloud-based DVR with no limits.
This will enable you will be able to record an unlimited amount of TV and save it in the cloud. The recordings will be available for nine months, and you’ll be able to access them at any time on any of your devices.
How Can You Watch YouTube TV?
YouTube TV will have its own standalone app that’ll be available on almost every device in your household.
Your mobile, tablet, smart TV, Windows PC, Mac, and Chromecast will all be covered at launch. Presumably, it will only be a matter of time before Google releases apps for Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire as well.
How Much Does YouTube TV Cost?
The basic rate for the service is $35 per month. You will be able to add up to six users to a single account, but only three users will be able to watch the app simultaneously. All six users get their own personal cloud-based DVR silo.
Google will offer two optional add-on networks. The Showtime TV network will be available for $11 per month while Fox Soccer Plus (offering the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Champions League, the CONCACAF Champions League, and more) will set you back an extra $15 per month.
The price compares very favorably to traditional TV packages. For example, Comcast’s Digital Premier package can cost up to $138.99 per month after the first year. The Digital Starter bundle, which offers AMC and ESPN, is $69.97 per month. The bundle does not offer HBO, Showtime, or National Geographic.
Unlike regular cable and satellite TV companies, YouTube TV doesn’t require you to sign up for a 12-month contract. Which means you will be able to cancel YouTube TV at any time. Just like Netflix.
Where Can You Get YouTube TV?
YouTube TV will only be available in the United States. Google has no plans to expand the service internationally at this stage. It’s unknown whether Google will clamp down on VPN usage.
Even if you’re in the U.S., there’s no guarantee you’ll have access anytime soon. Google has rather cryptically suggested the launch will happen in “the biggest U.S markets” but declined to go into further detail.
YouTube has existing partnerships with local TV networks in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia. So there is a strong possibility they will be the first four cities to be given access.
After the initial launch, Google suggests the rollout will expand gradually. Unfortunately, this means that if you live outside of the major urban areas, you might be waiting for a long time.
When Can You Get YouTube TV?
There is still no firm word from Google about when the service will be available. At the time of writing the company is simply saying it will happen “in the next few months”.
Visiting the YouTube TV website offers no further clues. It merely prompts you to add an email address and ZIP code so Google can alert you when the service is made available in your area.
YouTube Comes of Age
Do you remember back in 2005 when YouTube was all about homemade videos recorded on smartphones’ grainy predecessors? The launch of YouTube TV feels like the beginning of the end of that era.
The home video aspect of YouTube will undoubtedly live on, but the continually developing YouTube Partners program, YouTube Red, the launch of YouTube live video, and now the addition of a TV service suggests YouTube is finally about to fulfill its destiny of reimagining television for the 21st century.
Will you be signing up? What do you consider to be the most appealing features? What’s missing that’s likely to put you off subscribing? Leave a comment below detailing your thoughts!