Attention Cord-Cutters: YouTube TV is Coming Soon
YouTube has announced plans to get in on the live TV game at some point this year. But will it give competitors like Sling TV, DirecTV, or PlayStation Vue a real run for their money? The jury is still out.
What is YouTube TV?
YouTube TV, which is slated to launch soon (we're waiting on the details), will offer live TV streaming from more than 40 networks for just $35 a month — and that's with no contract; you can cancel whenever you want. Major networks like NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox, along with regional sports networks, E!, Bravo, USA, FX, Disney Junior and more will be included. YouTube says the service is ideal for "those who want to watch what they want, when they want, how they want, without commitments."
But there are some drawbacks. Membership comes with six accounts for a competitive price, but the only way to watch it directly on your TV is if you have Chromecast. (YouTube is owned by Google.) That means folks with Roku, Apple TV or Fire TV are on their own. YouTube TV will, however, stream on mobile devices, tablets and computers.
This, for me, is a deal breaker. I'd consider cutting the cord entirely and giving YouTube TV a shot if I could stream live TV on my television, but that means I'd have to ditch my Apple TV and buy a Chromecast. There are also a few other pitfalls worth mentioning.
YouTube TV's Channel Listing and Cloud-based DVR
YouTube TV's programming leaves a bit to be desired. As USA Today reports, all Time Warner and Viacom channels are out. That means no Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, CNN, TNT or TBS. Food Network and HGTV are also off the table. Wired adds that football fans might also be limited; the NFL-Verizon deal makes it impossible to stream games on your mobile device.
That said, if the networks you care about are included and you already have Chromecast capability, YouTube TV could be a really cost-effective way for cord cutters to enjoy live TV. There's one other big benefit here — YouTube TV offers up unlimited cloud-based DVR. You can record live TV to your heart's content without ever running out of storage and the platform will store each recording for nine months. This gives YouTube TV a real leg up over its competitors, though Sling TV and DirecTV Now are both rumored to be upping their DVR offerings this year.
Is YouTube TV Worth It?
Our initial reaction is that it might be a great service for the pocket of viewers who don't need every single network on their plan and are cool with Chromecast. But cord-cutters who prefer a more comprehensive live TV package may want to look a little closer at competitors like Sling TV and DirecTV Now. (You can actually snag a free Apple TV if you sign up for DirecTV Now and prepay for three months, or get a free Fire Stick with one month of prepay.) In the meantime, here's our take on the best streaming video services.
Do you plan on giving YouTube TV a whirl? Or will you hold out for Hulu, which insiders say is also planning a live TV launch of its own?
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