Should you sign up for YouTube TV?

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Should you sign up for YouTube TV?
Image Credit: Clark.com
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All year long, Clark.com’s Michael Timmermann is sharing quick and easy ways to save money as part of our Michael Saves series. Check in every Monday as he puts new and familiar savings strategies to the test. Sign up for our newsletter to have these stories delivered to your inbox!

If you’re trying to lower your monthly bills for 2018, start by looking at what you pay for TV service.

There are a number of live TV streaming options for under $40 per month. They could be a great alternative if your traditional cable or satellite provider won’t work with you on the price.

You’ve probably already heard about Sling TV, Hulu with Live TV and DirecTV Now — but now there’s YouTube TV.

Team Clark puts YouTube TV to the test

RELATED: Clark’s TV bundle will cut your cable or satellite bill in half!

For $35 per month, a YouTube TV membership provides access to dozens of broadcast and cable networks, as well as regional sports networks, with no cable box required.

Money expert Clark Howard has tried several streaming services and likes what he sees with YouTube TV.

“My buddy was able to go straight from watching something on his phone, clicked one button with YouTube TV and it was on his TV screen,” Clark said. “It’s so intuitive the way it works.”

Since it launched in April 2017, YouTube TV has expanded to 50 major metropolitan areas. I recently signed up for a free trial to experience it for myself!

Here are some of the things I learned about the YouTube TV streaming service:

1. What channels do you get with YouTube TV? 

When you’re trying to choose a live TV streaming service, the channel lineup is perhaps the most important thing to consider. YouTube TV has your local channels, plus cable news, sports and entertainment networks.

Here’s a snapshot of the networks included in a YouTube TV membership:

ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, AMC, BBC America, BBC World News, Big Ten Network, Bravo, CBS Sports Network, Chiller, CNBC, CW, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, E!, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews, FOX Business, FOX News, Freeform, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, FX, FXM, FXX, Golf Channel, IFC, MSNBC, NBCSN, Nat Geo, Nat Geo Wild, Newsy, Olympic Channel, Oxygen, Pop, SEC Network, Sundance TV, Syfy, Telemundo, Tennis Channel, Universal Kids, Universo, USA, WE tv

Check out what YouTube TV looks like from the mobile app. To watch live TV, scroll through the list of networks or click on the magnifying glass icon to search for something specific.

From the home screen, you can also browse shows and movies based on interests — like drama, action and comedy.

YouTube TV screenshot
Live preview of current programming

2. Does YouTube TV include unlimited DVR?

YouTube TV makes it easy to find live TV shows, but it’s equally as simple to record shows and movies to watch at a later time with its cloud DVR function.

Users can record as many shows as they want to — no storage limit — and recordings are kept for up to nine months.

By clicking the icon highlighted in the image below, I set up a recording for CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory,” which was then moved to my personal library.

YouTube TV DVR
YouTube TV’s unlimited DVR function

3. How do you stream YouTube TV on your TV? 

You can always watch YouTube TV on your phone, tablet or computer, but what if you just want to watch your favorite shows on the big screen?

For most users, the answer is Google Chromecast. It allows you to cast YouTube TV from a phone or computer to your TV.

I was a little intimidated by the process, but it’s not difficult. You just have to plug the Chromecast into your TV and download the Google Home app for step-by-step directions to set up the device.

YouTube TV has previously offered a free Chromecast for new members, which normally sells for $35.

First generation Chromecast
First generation Chromecast

Important note: I’m using a first generation Chromecast. YouTube TV says this older version may lead to a higher rate of errors and longer load times.

It has been taking about 15 seconds for most shows to load, but I haven’t had any other glitches.

4. Can a family share YouTube TV?

There are six accounts included with a YouTube TV membership for family members and roommates to receive their own unique recommendations and cloud DVR. Each household can watch up to three streams at a time.

For example, I streamed one program on my TV and had a different show playing on my computer:

Stream multiple shows at once
Stream multiple shows at once

Not ready to switch? Call your cable or satellite provider!

Just like Clark, I’ve been impressed with YouTube TV so far. But before you make any moves, comparison-shop and give your current cable or satellite provider a call to see if they offer a skinny bundle at a lower rate.

If that’s the case, you may be able to get more of the channels you want for less than you’re paying right now!

More YouTube TV resources:

RELATED: This new tool negotiates with your cable and internet provider to lower your bill

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Mike Timmermann About the author:
Michael Timmermann paid off his mortgage in two years. Now, he shares his money-saving tips on his blog, Save on Almost Everything.
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