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YouTube TV Review

YouTube TV is a live TV streaming service with more than 60 channels for US$65/month. This plan includes local channels, 31 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).

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.


Review

We tested YouTube TV and other live TV streaming services for more than 100 hours. YouTube TV is compatible with Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Roku, iPhone/iPad, Web Browsers, Android Phone/Tablet, Android TV, Xbox, LG Smart TV, Samsung Smart TV, VIZIO Smart TV, and Amazon Fire TV.


Features

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.

Unfortunately, for some channels like CBS, you cannot skip commercials on shows that are also available on demand.

Up to 3 Devices

This service allows for three simultaneous streams (among smartphones, tablets, and computers).

On Demand

A majority of channels offer on demand content, but you cannot skip or fast-forward through the content.

YouTube TV subscribers also have access to original content from YouTube Premium, like Cobra Kai, Buddy System, The Lazer Team, and Mind Field.

No Parental Controls

There are no parental controls for YouTube TV.

Only AT&T TV NOW, Hulu Live TV and Sling TV have parental control features.


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.

YouTube Premium Feature

Your YouTube TV subscription also gives you access to YouTube Premium Originals, but—unlike an actual YouTube Premium subscription—you will still get commercials while watching YouTube.

YouTube TV
US$65 tv.youtube.com
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Compatible Devices

YouTube TV is compatible with these devices:

YouTube TV is not compatible with PlayStation OR Nintendo.

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Apple TV
  • Google Chromecast
  • Roku
  • Android TV
  • iPhone/iPad
    iOS 9.1+
  • Android Phone/Tablet
    5.0+
  • Web Browsers
  • Xbox
  • Samsung Smart TV
    2016+ Models
  • VIZIO Smart TV
    Select SmartCast TVs
  • LG Smart TV
    2016+ Models

  • PlayStation
  • Nintendo

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.

TV App

YouTube TV recently added support for Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, and some Android TV devices like NVIDIA Shield. The interface is similar across devices, but seems to work best on Apple TV.

Computer

You can watch YouTube TV on Mac and Windows computers with Chrome.

YouTube TV
US$65 tv.youtube.com
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Screenshots

YouTube TV
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Channels

Local Channels

YouTube TV offers local channels, including ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Telemundo and The CW.

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 31 of the top 35 cable channels, which is fewer than AT&T TV NOW, PlayStation Vue, and Hulu Live TV.

The top 35 cable channels are listed below. For a list of all channels, look at YouTube TV’s full channel lineup.


Sports Channels

National Sports Channels

YouTube TV includes national sports channels, such as ESPN, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2 and NBC Sports Network.

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.

Pro Sports

Professional sports league channels MLB Network AND NBA TV are available on YouTube TV. NFL Network, NFL RedZone and NHL Network are not available on YouTube TV.

College Sports

YouTube TV has one of the best services for college sports fans; it includes ACC Network, ACC Network Extra, Big Ten Network, CBS Sports Network, ESPNU and SEC Network.

Other Sports Channels

ESPNEWS, Golf Channel, Olympic Channel and Tennis Channel are available on YouTube TV.

Fox Soccer Plus can be added for US$15/month.


Premium Channels

You can add Showtime (US$11), Starz (US$9), or Fox Soccer Plus (US$15) to your YouTube TV account.


Add-Ons

YouTube TV
US$65 tv.youtube.com
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Tech Specs

  • 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.
4K
1080p
720p

720p HD

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.

30 FPS
60 FPS

60 FPS

Most live TV streams are broadcast in 60 fps.

Stereo Sound

Stereo Sound

All live TV content has standard stereo audio.

Streaming Reliability
5

On Demand Reliability
5

Reliability

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.

25 sec
Live Delay

Live Delay

Live content is about 25 seconds behind cable TV, which is slightly better than average.

1.5 sec
Channel Switching

Channel Switching

It takes about 1.5 seconds to switch between channels, which is the fastest of any streaming service.

YouTube TV
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User Experience

  • 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.

Home Screen

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.

TV Guide

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.

Search

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.

Show Details

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.

Playback

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.

YouTube TV
US$65 tv.youtube.com
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much does YouTube TV cost?

YouTube TV is available starting at US$65 / 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 31 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?

YouTube TV includes ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Telemundo and The CW in most, but not all markets. See the full list: YouTube TV Local Channels.

Does YouTube TV have live sports?

YouTube TV includes live sports from ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, MLB Network, NBA TV, NBC Sports Network, TBS and TNT. See the full list: YouTube TV Sports Channels.

Does YouTube TV offer premium channels?

YouTube TV offers premium channels like EPIX, Showtime and Starz for an additional fee. See the full list: YouTube TV 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.