Just over a month ago, YouTube dropped a pretty big bomb on the TV streaming service providers by announcing its own service, aptly named YouTube TV. Of course the news dropped mere days after we published my piece comparing the best streaming options out there.
Feeling slighted, I thought it’d be best for me to be the one to tell you all about it.
Jokes aside, YouTube TV is looking to make a name for itself in the TV streaming world currently dominated by services like Netflix, Sling TV, DirecTV Now, Playstation Vue, Amazon and Hulu, and it’s taking some big steps to make sure its service doesn’t fall by the wayside.
What is YouTube TV?
It has been rumored for some time now that Google was going to try and offer some kind of on-demand live streaming service to compete in the market, and YouTube TV is the result of those efforts. Basically, YouTube TV is a monthly subscription-based, contract-free streaming service that will allow users to stream live and On-Demand television programming direct to their smart TV or other capable devices. Subscribers will be able to cancel at any time, and among the many perks of the deal is unlimited DVR space and access to YouTube Red content.
But more on its features in a bit. The real question is: Is YouTube TV going for the throat?
Brass Tacks—It’ll Cost Ya 35 Bucks a Month
Thirty-five bucks a month might sound a bit steep for people who are used to paying $9.99/mo. for Netflix or $11.99/mo. for Hulu’s premium service, but it’s actually pretty comparable to YouTube TV’s direct competition.
From what I can tell, there won’t be any kind of tiered packages like you’ll find with most other streaming services. YouTube TV will cost people $35/mo., won’t come with any kind of contracts, and will offer subscribers access to over 40 channels, including Fox, FX, FXX, FXM, ABC, NBC, the CW,CBS, ESPN, ESPNU, ESPN2, ESPN3, Syfy, Chiller, Nat Geo Wild, FS1, FS2, Big Ten, Free Form, E! and a few others. It will not have access to channels like Viacom, Discovery, A&E, AMC, TBS, TNT or CNN, which I can definitely see being problematic for some.
DirectTV Now offers an introductory package of $35/mo. and includes 60 channels, including FOX News, Comedy Central, MSNBC, CNN, and several others, but that price jumps to $60/mo. after the introductory period. Sling TV offers 40 channels for $25/mo. and a 50-channel package for $40 that includes BET, Food Network, History Channel, BBC America, VICELAND and CNN. PSVue’s bare bones plan is $39.99/mo. and includes 45 channels, including most of what YouTube TV has to offer.
As far as channel selection goes, they’re all about even, give or take a few selections. How valuable YouTube TV is to you really all depends on the kind of channel selection you’re looking for.
The Real Perks
Ok, so it’s no secret that YouTube TV’s channel offerings are going to be average and in line with its price point. For the streaming giant, in a market as competitive and explosive as this, it simply won’t do. There are already quite a few options out there, and if they want to stand out, they have to do something worthy of recognition. And that, friends, is where YouTube TV becomes worth its salt.
You’ll get 40 channels for $35/mo., which in and of itself isn’t bad. But along with that $35 bucks, you’re getting a service that will allow unlimited cloud-based DVR scheduling (which means you’ll never miss another TV show or movie again), and access from six separate accounts.
Perhaps the coolest detail is that each of those accounts will have their own separate and unlimited DVR action. The PSVue offers unlimited DVR space for 30 days, and Sling TV offers 100 hours of cloud-based DVR storage for no extra charge. However, those are the only services that come even remotely close to what YouTube TV is going to do, and even then, they don’t come close at all.
Subscribers will also have access to YouTube Red’s 28 original series, none of which have really made a major impact yet. Nevertheless, it’s stuff that the competition can’t offer.
I’m also a fan of YouTube TV’s viewing platform. It’s sleek, simple, and easy to navigate, but robust in that it offers in-depth features like a search function that’ll even search by themes (like “teen drama” and “time travel”).
What’s the Word, Bird?
All in all, I think YouTube TV is going to be a viable option for people already looking into things like Sling TV and PSVue. I think that it could offer a better array of channels (I mean, it’s owned by Google, for Christ’s sake), but I also think it’s definitely trying to make up for that by offering some pretty cool features that definitely make it stand out.
I think the unlimited cloud-based DVR is awesome, and I think most people would appreciate the idea that you can have six accounts streaming from it at the same time—all with their own DVR.
YouTube TV is now available.
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