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HomeTechYouTube TV Review: The Best Channel Selection Bar None

YouTube TV Review: The Best Channel Selection Bar None



YouTube TV


  • Extra channels than any competitor, and contains PBS

  • Excellent cloud DVR

  • Wonderful on-screen interface and helpful search bar

Do not like

  • $20 improve would not embrace a lot 4K content material

  • Pricier than Hulu’s stay plus on-demand content material bundle

Within the years since YouTube TV first launched, Google’s stay TV streaming service has persistently proved to be the most effective, with a superior channel choice and an unbeatable consumer expertise. However with a latest improve to $73 a month, the service has greater than doubled in worth. The general worth is not as easy because it as soon as was, particularly in opposition to competitor Hulu Plus Stay TV.

YouTube TV’s predominant power for cord-cutters is its sheer variety of channels. It now gives 77 of the highest 100 networks, probably the most of any streaming service, a rely that features quite a few cable staples plus all 4 native networks — ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC — and native PBS stations nationwide. 

YouTube TV on a television screen

Sarah Tew/CNET

Past channels, YouTube TV is straightforward to make use of: it is slick and speedy on a wide range of TVs and cell units. Its cloud DVR can be the most effective, with limitless storage and just about all of the capabilities of a {hardware} DVR. The service additionally gives a 4K streaming improve — for an extra $20 month-to-month — which, importantly, contains limitless simultaneous streams and downloadable DVR recordings.

The massive snag is the worth, and in the event you’re a cord-cutter, the cut-down Sling TV Blue at $40 a month is one of the simplest ways to economize. On the different finish of the spectrum, the $70 Hulu Plus Stay TV is a barely higher worth with an identical mixture of channels and the addition of the modified Disney Bundle. That stated, in the event you’re used to the myriad channels and simple DVR expertise of a cable service, YouTube TV’s base $73 bundle is well worth the cash. It is slick, simple to make use of and remains to be a great deal for what you are getting.

What do you get?

YouTube TV is totally different from YouTube, the free video service with greater than 2 billion customers a month. YouTube TV gives an expertise just like cable TV, with stay channels and on-demand content material out there on a wide range of units. It really works with Apple TV,
, Android TV, Chromecast and Amazon Fireplace TV together with quite a few sensible TVs, 
, tablets, recreation consoles and internet browsers. 

The service operates in a lot the identical approach as its opponents: There is a program information, a DVR and dozens of channels. However what’s it that actually separates YouTube TV from competing premium ($60-plus a month) companies corresponding to DirecTV Stream, Hulu Plus Stay TV and FuboTV? Let’s have a look.

Premium companies in contrast

YouTube TVDirecTV StreamHulu Plus Stay TVFuboTV
Base worth$73/month$70/month$70/month$70/month
Complete variety of high 100 channels77627356
ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC channelsSureSureSureSure
File exhibits for later (cloud DVR)Sure (maintain for 9 months)Sure (maintain for 9 months)Sure (50 hours, 200 hours plus industrial skip for $10/month)Sure (250 hours)
Step-up packages with extra channelsNo ($20/month for 4K, limitless streams, offline DVR downloads) SureSureSure
Simultaneous streams per account320 2 ($10 possibility for limitless)3

YouTube TV’s channel choice is superb, with extra from CNET’s checklist of 100 high channels than every other competitor (although Hulu is not too far behind). Nevertheless, extra channels do not essentially imply extra of what you need. Some companies, corresponding to FuboTV, lean closely on sports activities, whereas others are more and more expansive. It is best to verify the checklist on the finish of this text, which compares particular person channels throughout companies, to make sure you’re getting the channels you need. Whereas opponents embrace a lot of channel improve packages, YouTube contains every thing for one worth, although with one exception defined under.

The service additionally contains 5.1 encompass sound, the place out there, for all subscribers (most opponents are solely in stereo) and an growth of the DVR search, which may now select particular sports activities (most helpful for occasions such because the Olympics).

What’s it like to make use of?

YouTube TV interface

Screenshot by Ty Pendlebury/CNET

In comparison with some companies with multilevel interfaces, YouTube TV is pretty easy. There are three tabs on the high of the interface: Library, Dwelling and Stay. Library is the place your DVR content material lives, and House is the place featured and stay thumbnails seem. The Stay tab is a familiar-looking program grid that shows each at the moment taking part in and upcoming exhibits. You possibly can seek for content material from the highest of any web page, making it comparatively simple to leap straight to the programming you need. You can too carry out searches with a appropriate voice distant or Google Assistant. Although that is simpler if in case you have an Android TV streamer, you might additionally carry out searches in your Google Nest Mini and play it on a Roku, for instance.

The DVR works as you’d count on — each time-shifting stay content material and taking part in again recorded exhibits — and the system assigns your recorded content material to manageable classes, corresponding to lately recorded and most seen. The DVR additionally contains the flexibility to rewind and fast-forward freely by way of recordings, even ones that are not but accomplished. The Roku interface gives a 15-second skip by default, whereas the Apple TV’s management system through the Siri Distant is even higher. You should use the touchpad to scroll by way of movies — and it is superb! It is a lot enjoyable, and auto-generated thumbnails make it comparatively simple to get to the half you need.

Up to now, when a present appeared in a community’s on-demand library, it might routinely substitute the model in your cloud DVR, which means you’d lose the flexibility to fast-forward by way of commercials. YouTube TV says it got rid of that restriction in October 2018, however some CNET readers have complained that it nonetheless happens at instances. Moreover, YouTube TV’s DVR is not really limitless — the exhibits will expire after 9 months (similar to Hulu), however that is nonetheless for much longer than the 30 days you get with most rivals.

Although Google used to combine YouTube into YouTube TV — with trailers and associated content material on a present’s About web page — this seems to now not be the case. Nevertheless, the corporate is regularly tweaking the interface, and we may even see YouTube content material seem once more sooner or later.

Is it well worth the $20 for 4K?


The 4K improve features a small collection of exhibits, however most are over two years previous.

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

In a phrase, no. There is not sufficient content material proper now to justify the $20 improve, however there’s one new function which will show probably the most helpful, particularly for vacationers. Launched to coincide with the Olympics, YouTube TV’s $20 4K Plus add-on gives advantages, together with 4K sports activities and on-demand, an limitless variety of simultaneous streams, and the flexibility to save lots of DVR recordings for offline cell viewing. For those who’re a frequent flyer or subway rider, the flexibility to observe prerecorded exhibits with out an lively connection may very well be an actual boon.

As per YouTube TV’s 4K page, the extra content material contains exhibits from Discovery, ESPN, Fox Sports activities, FX, Nat Geo, NBC Sports activities and Tastemade. The interface features a 4K button to assist discover content material, however at current, this does not represent sufficient to stay round for. Along with a handful of exhibits, there’s Thursday Night time Soccer, “stay” Premier League soccer and faculty soccer on ESPN. The NCAA provides a bunch of 4K content material, however in order for you soccer, 4K or a mixture of the 2, FuboTV gives much more sports activities for an $85 price ticket.

The 4K content material that’s out there, such because the cooking present Make This Tonight or the journey competitors present Primary Versus Baller, does look good, with higher distinction and colour than common broadcast TV. In context, although, the highest tier of Netflix is cheaper at $18 per thirty days and gives hundreds of hours of 4K content material alone, plus offline viewing.

Consider it as a cable alternative

When it initially appeared for $35, YouTube TV was an exceedingly engaging approach to economize over cable. But because the service has piled on extra channels, it is added additional prices. So, if you take that $73 month-to-month charge and apply it to the $50 you are already paying for web service, it means you are paying over $120 a month. Many cable TV suppliers provides you with a TV-and-internet bundle for across the identical cash. Learn extra right here: Is Streaming Truly Cheaper Than Cable? We Do the Math.

Costs fluctuate lots, in fact, and with cable, you in all probability must pay rental gear charges, taxes and different extras. And cable suppliers normally reserve the perfect bundle pricing for individuals who signal a contract. The identical goes for “streaming” choices, corresponding to Comcast’s Xfinity Flex. The explanation you need to reduce cable within the first place stays.

Like Hulu with Stay TV, Sling TV and others, YouTube TV is contract-free, so you’ll be able to cancel anytime. Streaming companies additionally produce other benefits over cable. They’re simpler to observe on telephones and tablets, for instance. At $73 per thirty days, nonetheless, you will must be coming from a comparatively costly cable invoice to comprehend substantial financial savings with YouTube TV. 


The service comes with a complete program information.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Must you get YouTube TV?

If worth isn’t any object, YouTube TV goes neck and neck with Hulu Plus Stay TV because the premier stay TV streaming service, with an enormous array of leisure choices and the most effective DVR/search combos in the marketplace. It gives extra channels than anybody else and its 5.1 encompass is nice for sports activities and film followers. For those who do not need to be beholden to a conventional cable firm, it is an excellent different. 

Although $73 a month is a troublesome expenditure for some folks, with out a contract to fret about, you are free to leap ship to a greater deal at any time. The additional $20 on high is solely a bridge too far for therefore little 4K content material, even when limitless streams and DVR downloads are helpful for prolonged households or vacationers. If you would like the perfect bang on your buck, then Hulu Plus Stay TV’s Disney bundle is pretty unbeatable.

Lastly, in the event you’re a hard-core cord-cutter and decided to economize, Sling TV Blue gives a compelling different, particularly when paired with an antenna or an AirTV 2

Beneath, you will discover a comparability of the highest 100 channels provided by just a few of YouTube TV’s opponents. For extra data and comparisons with further companies, try the complete article.

  • Sure = The channel is offered on the most cost effective pricing tier.
  • No = The channel is not out there in any respect on that service. 
  • $ = The channel is offered for an additional charge, both a la carte or as a part of a dearer bundle or add-on. 
  • Not each channel a service carries is listed, simply the “high 100” as decided by CNET’s editors. Minor channels corresponding to AXS TV, CNBC World, Discovery Life, GSN, POP and Common Children did not make the reduce.
  • Regional sports activities networks — channels dedicated to exhibiting regular-season video games of specific professional baseball, basketball and hockey groups — aren’t listed. 
  • Prime 100 channels in contrast

    ChannelPhilo ($25)Sling Orange ($40)Sling Blue ($40)Hulu with Stay TV ($70)YouTube TV ($73)FuboTV ($75)DirecTV Stream ($75)
    Complete channels43243573775662
    ACC CommunityNo$NoSureSureSure$
    Animal PlanetSureNoNoSureSureSureSure
    BBC AmericaSureSureSureNoSureNoSure
    BBC World InformationSure$$NoSureNo$
    Massive Ten CommunityNoNo$SureSureSure$
    Bloomberg TVSureSureSureSureNoSureSure
    Cartoon CommunityNoSureSureSureSureNoSure
    CBS Sports activities CommunityNoNoNoSureSureSure$
    Comedy CentralSureSureSureSureSureSureSure
    Cooking ChannelSure$$$No$$
    Vacation spot AmericaSure$$$No$$
    Discovery ChannelSureNoSureSureSureSureSure
    Disney ChannelNoSureNoSureSureSureSure
    Disney JuniorNo$NoSureSureSureSure
    Disney XDNo$NoSureSureSureSure
    ESPN 2NoSureNoSureSureSureSure
    Meals CommunitySureSureSureSureSureSureSure
    Fox EnterpriseNoNo$SureSureSureSure
    Fox InformationNoNoSureSureSureSureSure
    FX Motion picturesNoNo$SureSure$$
    Golf ChannelNoNo$SureSureSure$
    HBO/HBO MaxNoNoNo$$No$
    Historical pastSureSureSureSureNoNoSure
    Investigation DiscoverySureSureSureSureSureSureSure
    Lifetime Film CommunitySure$$SureNoNo$
    Magnolia CommunitySure$$$NoSure$
    MLB CommunityNo$$NoNo$$
    Motor PatternSureSureNoSureSureSureSure
    Nationwide GeographicNoNoSureSureSureSureSure
    Nat Geo WildNoNo$SureSure$$
    NBA TVNo$$NoSure$$
    NFL CommunityNoNoSureSureSureSureNo
    NFL Pink ZoneNoNo$$$$No
    NHL CommunityNo$$NoNo$$
    Nick Jr.SureSureSureSureSureSure$
    Paramount CommunitySure$$SureSureSureSure
    SEC CommunityNo$NoSureSure$$
    Sundance TVSure$$NoSureNoSure
    Tennis ChannelNo$$NoNo$$
    Journey ChannelSureSureSureSureSureSure$
    TV LandSure$$SureSureSureSure
    USA CommunityNoNoSureSureSureSureSure
    WE televisionSure$$NoSureNoSure


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