YouTube TV Review
YouTube TV is a live TV streaming service with more than 60 channels for US$64.99/month. This plan includes local channels, 32 of the top 35 cable channels, and regional sports networks (RSNs) in select markets.
With the recent addition of Viacom channels (BET, MTV, Comedy Central, etc.) to the service, they are only without Hallmark and A+E Networks (Lifetime, History, A&E).
YouTube TV offers select 4K content, including some live sports and on-demand shows, as part of their 4K Plus add-on. The 4K Plus add-on is $19.99 a month and also includes offline downloads and unlimited streams on your home network.
If you want a cheaper service with many of the entertainment channels on YouTube TV, you can subscribe to Philo which includes A+E, Discovery, Viacom, Hallmark, and other channels for just $20 a month after a 7-Day Free Trial.
We tested YouTube TV and other live TV streaming services for more than 100 hours. YouTube TV is compatible with Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Roku, Android TV, iPhone/iPad, Android Phone/Tablet, Mac, Windows, PlayStation, Xbox, LG Smart TV, Samsung Smart TV, Sony Smart TV and VIZIO Smart TV.
Unlimited Cloud DVR
YouTube TV has Unlimited DVR storage, allowing you to keep shows for up to 9 months. You cannot record individual episodes, only entire series, sports teams, or major events.
If you start recording after you tune into a channel, the recording will start from when you first started watching. You can watch the recording from the beginning while it is still recording.
YouTube TV is the only service that offers offline downloads of content on your DVR. To enable that feature, you have to upgrade to their 4K Plus add-on, which will allow you to download shows and movies from your DVR for up to 30 days. You won’t be able to watch content on your streaming player, while it is downloaded offline.
Up to 3 Devices
This service allows for three simultaneous streams (among smartphones, tablets, and computers). You can add their 4K Plus add-on ($19.99 a month) to stream on Unlimited Devices on your home network.
35 TV Everywhere Apps
List of Compatible Apps
- AMC App
- BBC America App
- Bravo Now
- CBS App
- CBS Sports App
- CNBC App
- E! Now
- FOX Business App
- FOX News App
- FOX Now
- Fox Sports Go
- Freeform App
- FX Now
- Golf Live Extra
- IFC App
- MLB At Bat
- MSNBC Now
- Nat Geo TV App
- NBC App
- NBC Sports App
- Oxygen Now
- POP TV App
- Showtime Anytime
- SundanceTV App
- Syfy Now
- Telemundo Now
- Universal Kids App
- Universo Now
- USA Now
- Watch ABC
- Watch ESPN
- WE tv App
A majority of channels offer on demand content, but you cannot skip or fast-forward through the content.
No Parental Controls
Family Sharing Feature
Family Sharing allows you to create profiles for up to 5 additional people at no cost, allowing family members to log in with their own Google account to access live TV.
4K Plus Add-On Feature
YouTube TV offers a premium “4K Plus” add-on that includes select 4K content, offline downloads, and unlimited simultaneous streams on your home network. The add-on costs $19.99 a month ($9.99 for your first year), after a 30-Day Free Trial.
YouTube TV is compatible with these devices:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Apple TV
- Google Chromecast (Google Cast)
- Android TV
- iPhone/iPad (iOS 12+)
- Android Phone/Tablet (5.0+)
- LG Smart TV (2016+)
- Samsung Smart TV (2016+)
- Sony Smart TV
- VIZIO Smart TV (AirPlay/Google Cast)
YouTube TV is not compatible with Nintendo devices.
Phone & Tablet Apps
YouTube TV has the best smartphone and tablet apps of any of the live TV streaming providers.
The mobile apps have various tabs:
- Home: a live preview of shows currently on live TV. The home screen also has a list of recently viewed shows and recorded DVR content.
- Library: your recorded DVR content and a list of scheduled recordings.
- Live: a channel guide, showing what is currently airing on channels.
While you browse through the YouTube TV app, a live thumbnail of your most recently watched channel appears so you won’t miss anything. When you record sports, they will also let you jump between key highlights of games if you don’t want to watch the entire recording.
YouTube TV has support on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, and Android TV devices like NVIDIA Shield. The interface is similar across devices, but seems to work best on Apple TV.
While they do have a Roku App, they currently do not allow new downloads. In order to stream YouTube TV on Roku, you will need to access it from the YouTube App.
You can watch YouTube TV on Mac and Windows computers with Chrome. You cannot watch it using other browsers like Safari.
In most cases, you will have access to live (in major markets) and on demand content every. However, some local channels in smaller markets only have on-demand content or a national feed meaning you won’t get local news or sports.
For complete local availability, check our Channel Lookup tool.
Local Channel Restrictions
You can only access live local channels while you are in a market that YouTube TV is available.
If you are traveling, you will see the local channels of the market you are currently in (not your home market). If you are outside of a coverage area, you will only have access to national on demand content and your recordings.
Top Cable Channels
YouTube TV offers 32 of the top 35 cable channels, which is the most of any of the services, one more than fuboTV.
The top 35 cable channels are listed below. For a list of all channels, look at YouTube TV’s full channel lineup.
National Sports Channels
Regional Sports Networks (RSNs)
YouTube TV gives access to regional sports networks (RSNs) from NBC Sports and NESN.
They recently dropped Fox Sports RSNs and YES Network in a contract dispute with Sinclair Broadcast Group. If you need those channels, your best option is [Hulu Live TV $].
RSNs in Other Markets
You should check the YouTube TV RSN channel list before subscribing, to make sure it has the regional networks you need.
NFL RedZone can be added for US$11/month as part of their Sports Plus add-on.
Other Sports Channels
Fox Soccer Plus can be added for US$11/month as part of their Sports Plus add-on.
You can add Showtime (US$11) and Starz (US$9) to your YouTube TV account.
- High definition video is similar to other streaming services, most in 60fps
- Live streaming is very stable, except when streaming to older Chromecast or Apple TV devices.
- Very fast channel switching, so you can actually channel surf.
Video stream resolution is 720p at 60 fps for most channels. To reduce playback interruptions, YouTube TV will adapt the stream quality to match your network connection.
Most video streams in 60 FPS.
All live TV content has standard stereo audio.
We rarely had issues with YouTube TV video playback freezing, pausing, or hiccups changing channels.
However, when using older Chromcast or Apple TV devices, we had issues with video buffering.
Live content is about 25 seconds behind cable TV, which is slightly better than average.
It takes about 1.5 seconds to switch between channels, which is the fastest of any streaming service.
- Video player will feel very familiar to YouTube users.
- There is a standard channel guide with live previews, so you can see what’s playing before selecting a channel.
- Search is excellent and includes related YouTube clips.
The smartphones and tablets, the YouTube TV app’s home screen has a live preview of shows currently on live TV. The home screen also has a list of recently viewed shows and recorded DVR content.
As you scroll, the app suggests popular movies and TV shows, YouTube Premium Originals, and trending YouTube clips.
The YouTube TV channel guide lists available channels in a vertically scrolling list, with a live preview of what’s currently airing. When your device is in a landscape orientation, the guide will also show what is scheduled to air next.
As you would likely expect, YouTube TV has excellent search capabilities. The search tab suggests genres, channels, and trending shows before you begin searching.
As you type to search, the results area will suggest shows, channels, people, and sports teams. When you tap on a result, the app shows episodes and related and related clips.
The show listing page is very clean, making it easy to find live, recorded, and on demand episodes; the page also shows related YouTube clips.
On most channels, YouTube TV allows you to pause, skip forward and backwards, and jump to what’s currently live.
When you exit a live broadcast, a floating PIP displays while you browse through app.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How much does YouTube TV cost?
YouTube TV is available starting at US$64.99 / month. See the full list: YouTube TV Pricing & Plans
Does YouTube TV have a free trial?
YouTube TV does not have a free trial.
Does YouTube TV have a DVR?
YouTube TV includes Unlimited of Cloud DVR storage.
What channels are on YouTube TV?
YouTube TV includes 60 channels including 32 top cable channels. See the full list: YouTube TV Channels.
How many streams are allowed at once on YouTube TV?
YouTube TV allows up to 3 devices at the same time. See more details: YouTube TV Simultaneous Streams
Does YouTube TV have local channels?
Does YouTube TV have live sports?
Does YouTube TV offer premium channels?
Does YouTube TV offer on demand content?
YouTube TV includes on demand content from most of the channels they offer. Unlike content on your DVR, you won’t be able to skip ads.
Does YouTube TV support TV Everywhere apps?
YouTube TV includes access to many TV Eveywhere Apps with your YouTube TV credentials. See the full list: YouTube TV TV Everywhere Apps.
Does YouTube TV have a TV Guide?
YouTube TV includes a TV Guide similar to what you would get with your cable or satellite set-top box.
Does YouTube TV have ads?
YouTube TV includes ads during live viewing of shows, as well on all on-demand content. You can skip ads when you watch shows recorded to your DVR.
Does YouTube TV offer 4K streaming?
YouTube TV does not include 4K content as part of the service.
Does YouTube TV offer Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound?
YouTube TV does not include Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound as part of the service.