YouTube TV Review: Cable TV Alternative In 2021
YouTube TV is an easy and robust live TV streaming service for cord-cutters.
Regard: This YouTube TV Review has been updated with further information.
Cord cutters have never had it simpler, thanks to an increasing number of live TV streaming services like YouTube TV. One of the most strong options, delivering over 70 channels, adds local broadcast networks (depending on your region). Because of this breadth of content, it’s also one of the more valuable live TV services at $64.99 a month.
Lately, YouTube TV’s lineup became even more complete with Viacom channels like MTV and VH1. And it’s going to become an outstanding option for sports fans since the service added NFL Network for every subscriber and a Sports Plus package with NFL RedZone, Fox College Sports, MAVTV, GOLTV, Stadium, and TVG.
YouTube TV has a simple-to-use, intuitive interface and is available on every leading platform, including iOS, Xbox, Android, Playstation 4, and select smart TVs. What sets it apart from opponents is unlimited DVR storage — there are no caps on simultaneous recordings. Also, you can keep recordings for nine months.
But if all you’re watching for is access to local channels and top cable networks, plus limitless DVR storage, then YouTube TV is an enormous cable TV Alternative.
YouTube TV pricing and availability
To sign up for YouTube TV, you want a Google account. The streaming service allows a free two-week trial. After that, YouTube TV prices $64.99 per month for access to up to 70-plus channels. That’s the new cost as of June 30, 2020 (it was previously $49).
That’s in line with its main competitors. Hulu with Live TV also prices $65, as does FuboTV’s Family Plan. Sling TV is $45 a month for 53 channels, but to get all the broadcast networks, you want an antenna (they throw one in by the $99 Cord Cutter Bundle, which also occurs with Air TV devices integrate the channels in the Sling TV app). Philo TV is a very low-cost live TV streaming service at $20 a month, though the channel lineup is somewhat lackluster.
Your specific channel line-up on YouTube TV will depend on where you live, so start your ZIP code to view which local networks you know. YouTube TV also gives premium add-on channels and packages, which you can learn more about here.
The YouTube TV is available to stream to your TV by Chromecast devices (or on a Chromecast TV) by Apple AirPlay or Google Smart Display. You can likewise watch on a web browser on Mac and Windows computers.
The best YouTube TV app is available to download above:
All subscription comes with up to six accounts and three contemporary streams, then many family members can customize their libraries.
YouTube TV interface
YouTube TV’s interface will be easy for anyone who’s ever used YouTube. The practical design is simple, intuitive, and extremely simple to use. It’s not pretty (that Philo streaming service’s interface is very slicker), though it does what it wants to do. Finding shows and movies is the wind, as is navigating what’s broadcasting live at the moment.
This interface toggles between three screens: Home, Library, and Live. At the top of Home are a top picks selection, quite a mix of shows you’ve saved shows you’ve watched, including related shows based on your favorites. Here is a section filled with tips to add to your library, serving as a valuable reminder of upcoming shows plus movies you may need to record.
More down the Home page are categories for news, sports, movies, and YouTube Originals.
The library is the home for your DVR, displaying your saved shows, movies, and different programming and upcoming recordings.
The Live Screen is the best cable-television-like grid on any device (like web browsers, gaming stations, and smart TVs). On more miniature devices, such as phones, Live presents a list of what’s airing on all the channels you get.
Each platform also has a Search tool in the navigation bar, which takes you to an automatic search page. YouTube TV shines hither — not surprising since Google owns it. You can search for a show about a movie title, a person, or themes and genres (for example, “Oscar-winning movies”). The search is lightning quick, and results begin populating as you type. They’re broken down with live and upcoming airings, recordings from your library, and what’s on-demand.
This show and movie profile pages are well-designed and very robust. Each show profile page displays available and upcoming episodes, cast members, and like videos from YouTube. In the case of Friends, those add clips of Jennifer Aniston on late-night programs. There’s more of a section touting related shows.
YouTube TV content and channels
YouTube TV’s channel lineup is large and on par by what’s available on competitors like Hulu with Live TV and Sling TV. YouTube TV newly added the Viacom family of cable channels, including BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, and the premium network Showtime. And football enthusiasts will be pleased that the service is adding NFL Network. The new additions have given YouTube TV’s channel lineup one of the most full cable TV alternatives.
The cable networks include CNN, AMC, ESPN, HGTV, TBS, TNT, the Disney Channel, and the USA. However, the lineup is missing Viacom networks like Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon. The just live TV services that have those networks are Philo and FuboTV.
YouTube TV offers ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC local broadcasts, depending on your region. The service tells it has complete local network coverage in over 98% of U.S. TV households.
There are some premium add-on channels you can include in your plan, too, each by a separate monthly fee. YouTube TV is also joining a new Sports Plus add-on with Fox College Sports, NFL RedZone, GOLTV, MAVTV, Stadium, and TVG.
Do advise that there are many ads, though that isn’t YouTube’s fault since the networks preprogram advertising.
As far as content, it’s right to have access to YouTube Originals, but the offerings are reasonably meager. YouTube isn’t trying to play with the likes of Hulu or Netflix in original programming. Plus, YouTube TV is cheaper than Hulu with Live TV, so you’re paying small for less content.
YouTube TV DVR
YouTube TV’s best feature is its extensive DVR. You can save all the recordings you need for nine months. There’s no cap on simultaneous recordings.
That’s more useful than Hulu with Live TV, which caps you at 50 hours of recordings unless you pay $15 also a month to get 200 hours with the Enhanced Cloud DVR add-on. Sling offers also less DVR storage, just 10 hours in the Cloud DVR, including an option to take 50 hours for $5 more.
Saving shows and movies is effortless — click the plus sign on a show page or next to the title if you’re watching. YouTube TV will later record every episode on any channel (or just once for movies).
Since the DVR is unlimited, any recordings are saved for nine months, so you can’t delete a recording after you’ve watched it. This is honestly standard for streaming services; only Sling gives you the option to delete saved recordings.
YouTube TV video quality
YouTube TV supports up on 1080p, depending on the channel and program. The greatest of the content I saw played at 720p.
However, by even offering some channels at 1080p, YouTube TV vaults over its competitors. Hulu by Live TV only just started streaming some channels at 1080p. Sling doesn’t have complete information about its streaming resolution, while Philo streams live TV at 720p and on-demand at 1080p.
Regarding how fast programs achieved HD resolution, it was quick — usually around 5 seconds. That’s standard for live streaming services.
On a secure home connection, programs held steady after stabilizing, but some HD quality fluctuation played on slower networks.
YouTube TV is one of the top best choices for cord-cutters looking for a live TV streaming service to renew their cable television package. For $49.99 per month, you get quite a lot — a fabulous channel lineup, unlimited DVR, and an easy-to-use app available on all important platforms. The service doesn’t have everything, yet none of them do. You can see Sling for less than YouTube TV but receive a shorter channel lineup. You can pay also more limited than that, just $20, for Philo, but you won’t get local channels or top cable networks.
If you need live TV at a fair price, YouTube TV may be your best bet.