If you want to save money by cutting the cord without giving up your must-have channels, YouTube TV is a popular choice to consider in 2021.
What Is YouTube TV? Team Clark Reviews the Live TV Streaming Service
For $65 per month, a YouTube TV subscription provides access to more than 85 broadcast and cable networks — no contract or cable box required.
It was money expert Clark Howard’s favorite streaming TV service until a June 2020 price hike:
“This is one of those moments when you have to look at alternatives because what was a great deal at $50 becomes no deal at all at $65,” Clark says. “Unless you like a ton of the new channels, look at the other options that are cheaper than YouTube TV’s new $65 a month.”
I’ve repeatedly tested YouTube TV and the other major live TV streaming services. Read on to learn what you need to know before you sign up!
Table of Contents:
1. Channel Lineup
When you’re trying to choose a cable or satellite TV alternative, the list of channels is probably the most important factor.
YouTube TV’s channel lineup features more sports networks than most of its competitors. They include ESPN, Fox Sports 1 & 2, Big Ten Network, CBS Sports Network, MLB Network, NBCSN, SEC Network and NBA TV.
In September 2020, YouTube TV added NFL Network to its base plan. For even more sports, YouTube TV launched a Sports Plus add-on for $10.99 per month that includes NFL RedZone, Fox College Sports and several others.
Check YouTube TV’s website to confirm the availability of local stations: ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX.
YouTube TV Channel List
|ABC News Live|
|ACC Network (ACCN)|
|BBC World News|
|Big Ten Network (BTN)|
|CBS Sports Network|
|Fox Business Network|
|Fox News Channel|
|Fox Sports 1 (FS1)|
|Fox Sports 2 (FS2)|
|Investigation Discovery (ID)|
|Nat Geo Wild|
|NBC News Now|
|TCM (Turner Classic Movies)|
2. Cloud DVR
YouTube TV’s navigation makes it easy to find live TV shows, but you can also record content to watch at a later time with its cloud DVR function.
Subscribers can record as many shows as they want to, and recordings are kept for up to nine months.
The video below demonstrates how to navigate the service’s cloud DVR and some of the other features like its live TV guide, which looks a lot like what you get with cable.
3. Supported Devices
You can always watch YouTube TV on your phone, tablet or computer, but what if you just want to stream your favorite shows on the big screen?
The streaming service’s list of supported devices for TV includes:
- Google Chromecast
- Apple TV
- Amazon Fire TV
- Android TV
- PlayStation 4
- Xbox One
- Vizio SmartCast TVs
- Some Samsung, LG and HiSense TVs
If you don’t already have a streaming device, Clark recommends the $30 Roku Express because it’s cheap and easy to use. Click here to read Team Clark’s Quick Tips for First-Time Streamers.
4. Multiple Streams
There are six accounts included with a YouTube TV membership, so everyone listed on the account can get their own unique recommendations and cloud DVR. Each household can watch up to three streams at a time.
If you want to use the service while traveling, you can access certain programs based on your location. Learn more here.
Pros and Cons of YouTube TV
|Great overall channel lineup||Monthly price increased from $50 to $65 in June 2020|
|Lots of sports: ESPN, FS1, FS2, NFL Network, MLB Network, NBA TV and more|
|Unlimited cloud DVR|
YouTube TV has a great lineup of sports networks for $65 a month, but Sling TV offers a variety of sports, news and entertainment networks at a cheaper price.
Aside from the price, there’s a lot to like about YouTube TV. I didn’t experience error messages or buffering while streaming over an internet connection with roughly 60 Mbps download speed.
The service recommends a download speed of at least 13 Mbps to reliably stream HD video.
Unlimited DVR is a bright spot for YouTube TV because some of its competitors place limits on storage or charge extra for it. Personalized DVR for family members is another benefit.
Most major streaming devices are compatible, with Amazon Fire TV added in late 2019.
If you’re thinking about switching from cable to YouTube TV, take advantage of the free trial first. If you don’t like it, just keep trying other services until you find one that’s a good fit.
Learn more and compare your options in Team Clark’s guide to the best live TV streaming plans and deals!
This article was originally written by Michael Timmermann and published on March 29, 2018.