YouTube TV Assessment: The Finest Channel Choice Bar None


YouTube TV


  • Extra channels than any competitor, and consists of PBS

  • Excellent cloud DVR

  • Wonderful on-screen interface and helpful search bar

Don’t love

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

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

Within the years since YouTube TV first launched, Google’s reside TV streaming service has constantly proved to be top-of-the-line, 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 simple because it as soon as was, particularly in opposition to competitor Hulu Plus Dwell TV.

YouTube TV’s important power for cord-cutters is its sheer variety of channels. It now affords 77 of the highest 100 networks, essentially 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 quite a lot of TVs and cell units. Its cloud DVR can also be top-of-the-line, with limitless storage and just about all of the capabilities of a {hardware} DVR. The service additionally affords a 4K streaming improve — for an extra $20 month-to-month — which, importantly, consists of limitless simultaneous streams and downloadable DVR recordings.

The large snag is the value, and should 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 Dwell TV is a barely higher worth with an identical mixture of channels and the addition of the modified Disney Bundle. That mentioned, should you’re used to the myriad channels and straightforward DVR expertise of a cable service, YouTube TV’s base $73 package deal is well worth the cash. It is slick, simple to make use of and remains to be an excellent 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 affords an expertise much like cable TV, with reside channels and on-demand content material accessible on quite a lot of units. It really works with Apple TV,
, Android TV, Chromecast and Amazon Hearth TV together with quite a few sensible TVs, 
, tablets, recreation consoles and net browsers. 

The service operates in a lot the identical manner 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 reminiscent of DirecTV Stream, Hulu Plus Dwell TV and FuboTV? Let’s have a look.

Premium companies in contrast

YouTube TV DirecTV Stream Hulu Plus Dwell TV FuboTV
Base worth $73/month $70/month $70/month $70/month
Whole variety of high 100 channels 77 62 73 56
ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC channels Sure Sure Sure Sure
File reveals for later (cloud DVR) Sure (preserve for 9 months) Sure (preserve for 9 months) Sure (50 hours, 200 hours plus business skip for $10/month) Sure (250 hours)
Step-up packages with extra channels No ($20/month for 4K, limitless streams, offline DVR downloads)  Sure Sure Sure
Simultaneous streams per account 3 20  2 ($10 possibility for limitless) 3

YouTube TV’s channel choice is superb, with extra from CNET’s listing 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, reminiscent of FuboTV, lean closely on sports activities, whereas others are more and more expansive. It is best to verify the listing 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 consists of every thing for one worth, although with one exception defined under.

The service additionally consists of 5.1 encompass sound, the place accessible, for all subscribers (most opponents are solely in stereo) and an enlargement of the DVR search, which might 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, House and Dwell. Library is the place your DVR content material lives, and House is the place featured and reside thumbnails seem. The Dwell tab is a familiar-looking program grid that shows each at present enjoying and upcoming reveals. 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 may as well carry out searches with a appropriate voice distant or Google Assistant. Although that is simpler you probably have an Android TV streamer, you can additionally carry out searches in your Google Nest Mini and play it on a Roku, for instance.

The DVR works as you’d anticipate — each time-shifting reside content material and enjoying again recorded reveals — and the system assigns your recorded content material to manageable classes, reminiscent of lately recorded and most seen. The DVR additionally consists of the power to rewind and fast-forward freely by means of recordings, even ones that are not but accomplished. The Roku interface affords a 15-second skip by default, whereas the Apple TV’s management system through the Siri Distant is even higher. You need to use the touchpad to scroll by means 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.

Previously, when a present appeared in a community’s on-demand library, it could robotically exchange the model in your cloud DVR, that means you’d lose the power to fast-forward by means of commercials. YouTube TV says it removed that restriction in October 2018, however some CNET readers have complained that it nonetheless happens at occasions. Moreover, YouTube TV’s DVR is not actually limitless — the reveals will expire after 9 months (identical 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 frequently tweaking the interface, and we might even see YouTube content material seem once more in some unspecified time in the future.

Is it well worth the $20 for 4K?


The 4K improve features a small number of reveals, however most are over two years outdated.

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 essentially the most helpful, particularly for vacationers. Launched to coincide with the Olympics, YouTube TV’s $20 4K Plus add-on affords advantages, together with 4K sports activities and on-demand, an limitless variety of simultaneous streams, and the power to avoid wasting DVR recordings for offline cell viewing. In case you’re a frequent flyer or subway rider, the power to look at prerecorded reveals with out an lively connection could possibly be an actual boon.

As per YouTube TV’s 4K web page, the extra content material consists of reveals 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 reveals, there’s Thursday Evening Soccer, “reside” Premier League soccer and school soccer on ESPN. The NCAA provides a bunch of 4K content material, however if you would like soccer, 4K or a mix of the 2, FuboTV affords much more sports activities for an $85 price ticket.

The 4K content material that’s accessible, such because the cooking present Make This Tonight or the journey competitors present Primary Versus Baller, does look good, with higher distinction and shade than common broadcast TV. In context, although, the highest tier of Netflix is cheaper at $18 monthly and affords 1000’s 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 manner to economize over cable. But because the service has piled on extra channels, it is added additional prices. So, while you take that $73 month-to-month price 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 offers you 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 range so much, after all, and with cable, you most likely need to pay rental gear charges, taxes and different extras. And cable suppliers often reserve the very best bundle pricing for individuals who signal a contract. The identical goes for “streaming” choices, reminiscent of Comcast’s Xfinity Flex. The rationale you wish to lower cable within the first place stays.

Like Hulu with Dwell TV, Sling TV and others, YouTube TV is contract-free, so you may cancel anytime. Streaming companies additionally produce other benefits over cable. They’re simpler to look at on telephones and tablets, for instance. At $73 monthly, nonetheless, you may need to 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

Do you have to get YouTube TV?

If worth is not any object, YouTube TV goes neck and neck with Hulu Plus Dwell TV because the premier reside TV streaming service, with an enormous array of leisure choices and top-of-the-line DVR/search combos available on the market. It affords extra channels than anybody else and its 5.1 encompass is nice for sports activities and film followers. In case you do not wish to be beholden to a conventional cable firm, it is an incredible various. 

Although $73 a month is a tricky 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 thus little 4K content material, even when limitless streams and DVR downloads are helpful for prolonged households or vacationers. If you’d like the very best bang on your buck, then Hulu Plus Dwell TV’s Disney bundle is pretty unbeatable.

Lastly, should you’re a hard-core cord-cutter and decided to economize, Sling TV Blue affords a compelling various, particularly when paired with an antenna or an AirTV 2

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

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

    Channel Philo ($25) Sling Orange ($40) Sling Blue ($40) Hulu with Dwell TV ($70) YouTube TV ($73) FuboTV ($75) DirecTV Stream ($75)
    Whole channels 43 24 35 73 77 56 62
    ABC No No No Sure Sure Sure Sure
    CBS No No No Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Fox No No Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    NBC No No Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    PBS No No No No Sure No Sure
    CW No No No Sure Sure Sure Sure
    MyNetworkTV No No No Sure Sure No Sure
    A&E Sure Sure Sure Sure No No Sure
    ACC Community No $ No Sure Sure Sure $
    Accuweather Sure No No No No Sure Sure
    AMC Sure Sure Sure No Sure No Sure
    Animal Planet Sure No No Sure Sure Sure Sure
    BBC America Sure Sure Sure No Sure No Sure
    BBC World Information Sure $ $ No Sure No $
    BET Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Large Ten Community No No $ Sure Sure Sure $
    Bloomberg TV Sure Sure Sure Sure No Sure Sure
    Boomerang No $ $ Sure No No Sure
    Bravo No No Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Cartoon Community No Sure Sure Sure Sure No Sure
    CBS Sports activities Community No No No Sure Sure Sure $
    Cheddar Sure No No Sure Sure Sure $
    Cinemax No No No $ $ No $
    CMT Sure $ $ Sure Sure Sure Sure
    CNBC No No $ Sure Sure Sure Sure
    CNN No Sure Sure Sure Sure No Sure
    Comedy Central Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Cooking Channel Sure $ $ $ No $ $
    Vacation spot America Sure $ $ $ No $ $
    Discovery Channel Sure No Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Disney Channel No Sure No Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Disney Junior No $ No Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Disney XD No $ No Sure Sure Sure Sure
    E! No No Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    EPIX $ $ $ No $ No $
    ESPN No Sure No Sure Sure Sure Sure
    ESPN 2 No Sure No Sure Sure Sure Sure
    ESPNEWS No $ No Sure Sure $ $
    ESPNU No $ No Sure Sure $ $
    Meals Community Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Fox Enterprise No No $ Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Fox Information No No Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    FS1 No No Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    FS2 No No $ Sure Sure Sure $
    Freeform No Sure No Sure Sure Sure Sure
    FX No No Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    FX Motion pictures No No $ Sure Sure $ $
    FXX No No $ Sure Sure Sure Sure
    FYI Sure $ $ Sure No No $
    Golf Channel No No $ Sure Sure Sure $
    Hallmark Sure $ $ Sure Sure Sure Sure
    HBO/HBO Max No No No $ $ No $
    HGTV Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Historical past Sure Sure Sure Sure No No Sure
    HLN No $ Sure Sure Sure No Sure
    IFC Sure Sure Sure No Sure No Sure
    Investigation Discovery Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Lifetime Sure Sure Sure Sure No No Sure
    Lifetime Film Community Sure $ $ Sure No No $
    Magnolia Community Sure $ $ $ No Sure $
    MLB Community No $ $ No No $ $
    Motor Development Sure Sure No Sure Sure Sure Sure
    MSNBC No No Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    MTV Sure $ $ Sure Sure Sure Sure
    MTV2 Sure $ $ $ Sure $ Sure
    Nationwide Geographic No No Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Nat Geo Wild No No $ Sure Sure $ $
    NBA TV No $ $ No Sure $ $
    NFL Community No No Sure Sure Sure Sure No
    NFL Crimson Zone No No $ $ $ $ No
    NHL Community No $ $ No No $ $
    Nickelodeon Sure No No Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Nick Jr. Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure $
    Nicktoons Sure $ $ $ Sure $ $
    OWN Sure No No Sure Sure Sure $
    Oxygen No No $ Sure Sure Sure $
    Paramount Community Sure $ $ Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Science Sure $ $ $ No $ $
    SEC Community No $ No Sure Sure $ $
    Showtime No $ $ $ $ $ $
    Smithsonian Sure No No Sure Sure Sure $
    Starz $ $ $ $ $ $ $
    Sundance TV Sure $ $ No Sure No Sure
    Syfy No No Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Tastemade Sure $ $ No Sure Sure $
    TBS No Sure Sure Sure Sure No Sure
    TCM No $ $ Sure Sure No Sure
    TeenNick Sure $ $ $ Sure $ Sure
    Telemundo No No No Sure Sure Sure $
    Tennis Channel No $ $ No No $ $
    TLC Sure No Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    TNT No Sure Sure Sure Sure No Sure
    Journey Channel Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure $
    TruTV No $ Sure Sure Sure No Sure
    TV Land Sure $ $ Sure Sure Sure Sure
    USA Community No No Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    VH1 Sure $ $ Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Vice Sure Sure Sure Sure No No Sure
    WE television Sure $ $ No Sure No Sure

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