If you’re tired of paying a big cable bill each month, you may find that cutting the cord and subscribing to YouTube TV is a great money-saving solution in 2021.
In this article, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about the popular streaming service which is owned by Google.
What Is YouTube TV? Team Clark Reviews the Live TV Streaming Service
|Channels||107 (Full list)|
|Free Trial||14 Days (Sign up)|
Families, sports fans and DVR binge junkies
|Cloud DVR Hours||Unlimited|
|Supported Streaming Devices||
Amazon Fire, Chromecast, Apple TV and select smart TVs (Full list)
For $65 per month, a YouTube TV subscription provides access to more than 85 popular broadcast and cable channels. There is no contract or cable box required. You can stream content live or on demand from your television, phone, tablet or computer.
Though the price has increased significantly over the last few years, money expert Clark Howard still maintains a YouTube TV subscription for his family.
“What interests me about YouTube TV is the unlimited DVR and the versatility with how many people can be watching at the same time and how many individual accounts you can have,” Clark says.
Team Clark has 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.
One of the best features of YouTube TV is that is provides local affiliate channels for ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX in most areas of the country. You’ll want to visit the website to confirm local channel availability by entering your ZIP code.
Another plus is that YouTube TV’s channel lineup features more sports and news channels than most of its competitors. However, you will notice that many regional sports networks (RSNs) are no longer included with a subscription; that’s because of contract disputes with a channel provider.
Team Clark has assembled a searchable list of YouTube TV’s channel offerings.
|YouTube TV ($64.99)|
|ABC News Live|
|BBC World News|
|Big Ten Network|
|CBS Sports Network|
|FOX Business Network|
|FOX News Channel|
|FOX Sports 1|
|FOX Sports 2|
|Hallmark Movies & Mysteries|
|Nat Geo Wild|
|NBC News Now|
|OWN – Oprah Winfrey Network|
If you’re willing to spend more, you can add more channels by purchasing optional packages.
|Sports Plus Add-on ($10.99)|
|FOX College Sports|
|FOX Soccer Plus|
In addition to add-on channel packages, YouTube TV also provides the opportunity to sign up for premium subscription services within its ecosystem.
For example, you can opt into paying $15 per month for an HBO Max subscription as a part of your monthly YouTube TV bill. That content would be available to stream on your YouTube TV app alongside the content from your base subscription.
Here’s a sampling of the premium channels or services that are available through YouTube TV:
- HBO Max
- Hallmark Movies Now
- NBA League Pass
2. Cloud DVR
If you’re worried about losing your DVR functionality when you cutt the cord, you’ll be happy to know that YouTube TV offers a DVR experience that rivals the very best cable experience.
YouTube TV’s cloud DVR storage is unlimited and requires no extra fees. That means you can keep as many recordings of shows, movies or sports games as you’d like.
YouTube TV is one of the only streaming services to offer unlimited cloud storage space for its DVR. Other services limit the amount of cloud DVR storage you can access, and some even upcharge for the privilege.
Some other perks to YouTube TV’s cloud DVR storage include:
- No limit on simultaneous recordings
- The ability to stream your library wherever you go
- Personal library space for each account
- Recordings kept for 9 months
The video below demonstrates how to navigate the service’s cloud DVR and some of the other features, including its live TV guide, which looks a lot like what you get with cable.
3. Supported Devices
One of the biggest perks of cutting the cord and opting into a service like YouTube TV is the variety of ways in which you can enjoy the content.
Not only can you move seamlessly from device to device, but you can also take your recorded content with you thanks to the portability of the cloud DVR. So you can take your favorite movies and shows with you on vacation.
You can watch YouTube TV on your phone, tablet or computer. But many of us still like to enjoy entertainment on a television from the comfort of our couches.
YouTube TV has you covered in that area, too.
The streaming service’s list of supported devices for TV includes:
- Apple TV (4th generation) and Apple TV 4K
- Amazon Fire TV products
- Chromecast with Google TV devices
- Android TV (Note: TVs running a mobile version of Android may not be supported)
- Vizio SmartCast TVs
- Samsung & LG smart TVs (2016 models and newer)
- HiSense TVs
- Xbox: Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One X, Xbox One S, and Xbox One
- PS5 and PS4
- TiVo Stream 4K
One major name you may notice is missing: Roku.
There is a rift between YouTube TV and Roku that has made it difficult to stream the service on Roku devices. Most existing subscribers are able to access the YouTube TV app they downloaded prior to this issue, but new users are out of luck.
YouTube TV has created a workaround that allows new subscribers to access the live streaming service via the YouTube app on their Roku. Instructions for doing this can be found here.
4. Multiple Streams
Another big concern for cord cutters is ensuring that the entire household is able to enjoy watching television the same way that they have with cable.
YouTube TV shines in this area as well — without charging you for a box to use on each TV.
Each household can watch up to three streams simultaneously.
And there are six accounts included with a YouTube TV membership. So everyone in the household can get their own unique cloud DVR storage spaces and personal settings for consumption.
Here’s how YouTube TV stacks up against some of its competitors in this area:
|FuboTV – Starter||Hulu + Live TV||Sling Orange + Blue||YouTube TV|
|User Profiles Allowed||6||6||1||6|
Pros and Cons of YouTube TV
|Great overall channel lineup filled with sports and news||Monthly price has increased to $65 after being as low as $35.|
|Unlimited cloud DVR storage is included.||Many regional sports networks are unavailable.|
|Up to 6 user accounts and 3 simultaneous streams||Roku users are having difficulties with YouTube TV because of a contract dispute.|
There is a lot to like about YouTube TV.
Even though the service has steadily increased its price over the last few years, it still offers cord-cutters one of the best live TV streaming experiences at a price that’s still lower than most cable bills.
The unlimited cloud DVR is a real bright spot for people who want to watch traditional television shows but have a schedule that doesn’t allow much flexibility for being in front of the TV at a certain time.
And the fact that you can silo personalized DVR storage spaces for individuals within a household makes it really easy to separate adult content from kids’ and vice versa.
If you’re thinking about signing up for YouTube TV, take advantage of the free trial first. That will give you a chance to feel out the product before handing over any cash. If you’re not sold, just make sure to cancel the trial before it expires so that your credit card is not charged.