It’s been only about a month since Google revealed plans for YouTube TV, its streaming live TV service, but already the Internet firm has the service up and running in five markets. The service is a competitor for services like Sling TV, DirecTV Now and PlayStation Vue, but it differs from streaming services such as Netflix because it offers live TV rather than on-demand streaming. After all, the core YouTube offering is an on-demand service, albeit still different from Netflix and its competitors.
What is YouTube TV?
At this point, YouTube TV includes only about 40 channels, including the streamer’s local TV networks such as NBC, Fox, ABC, CBS, etc. The service also includes channels that are typically outside basic cable packages, such as USA, the CW, FX, SyFy, Fox News, MSNBC and others.
YouTube TV even managed to capture local sports networks such as Comcast Sports Network, ESPN and Fox Sports, which is really where the big money is. Historically, live sports has been reserved just for cable and broadcast TV, making it difficult for sports fans to watch their favorite teams without signing up for an expensive cable package. However, this is just another sign that the holders of sports licensing rights are realizing that they’ve got to move with the times if they’re going to keep their audiences.
Turner networks such as TNT and TBS are excluded, however, as are PBS, CNN, Comedy Central and some other very popular channels.
$35 a month for YouTube TV
All of the local programming and is available for $35 per month without a contract. Included in that subscription price is unlimited cloud DVR storage and six accounts, with each user age 13 and up having their own login and personal DVR history. Showtime and Fox Soccer Plus are offered as add-ons for those who will pay $11 and $15 per month, respectively, for them. HBO isn’t offered as an add-on like it is for DirecTV Now, which is offering free HBO for a year. Channels or shows can be streamed on three devices at once.
Multiple shows can be recorded at the same time and viewed on the user’s smartphone, computer or TV if you have a set-top box or streaming device such as a Google Chromecast. Google is currently offering a free Chromecast after the first monthly payment, although that’s only for a limited time.
YouTube TV is currently only available in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Philadelphia. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the TV business, it will take some time for Google to roll the live TV streaming service out to more markets because it will have to sign deals with each channel in a market before it will be able to launch there.