4 things to know before you sign up for YouTube TV

4 things to know before you sign up for YouTube TV
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YouTube TV is money expert Clark Howard’s favorite live TV streaming service for sports fans who want to save money by cutting the cord without giving up their favorite channels.

The streaming TV service is one of a handful of new options, including Sling TV, Hulu with Live TV and DirecTV Now.

Team Clark reviews YouTube’s live TV streaming service

For $40 per month, a YouTube TV membership provides access to more than 60 broadcast and cable networks, plus regional sports networks — no cable box required.

Clark has tried several streaming TV services and says YouTube TV is the best:

“My favorite of all the streaming products is YouTube TV. It has a pretty wide array of television programming, but what’s really neat is that multiple people could be watching different things at the same time and everybody has an unlimited DVR.”

YouTube TV announced in January 2019 that it’s going nationwide and has expanded to cover nearly 98% of U.S. households. 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…

YouTube TV review: Table of contents 

1. What channels do you get with YouTube TV? 

When you’re trying to choose a cable or satellite TV alternative, the list of channels is probably the most important factor.

The strength in YouTube TV’s channel lineup is with sports networks like ESPN, Fox Sports 1 & 2, Big Ten Network, CBS Sports Network, MLB Network, NBCSN, SEC Network, NBA TV and more.

However, Discovery-owned networks like HGTV, Food Network, TLC and others are noticeably missing.

Some people combine a YouTube TV subscription with Philo, a $16/month live TV streaming service that includes many of the entertainment networks that you don’t get with YouTube TV.

RELATED: Streaming TV channel comparison chart 

YouTube TV channel list 

  • ABC
  • CBS
  • FOX
  • NBC
  • AMC
  • BBC America
  • BBC World News
  • Bravo
  • Big Ten Network (BTN)
  • Cartoon Network
  • CBS Sports Network
  • Cheddar
  • Cheddar Big News
  • CNBC
  • CNN
  • Comet
  • CW
  • Disney Channel
  • Disney Junior
  • Disney XD
  • E!
  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPNews
  • Fox Business Network
  • Fox News Channel
  • Fox Sports
  • Freeform
  • FS1 (Fox Sports 1)
  • FS2 (Fox Sports 2)
  • FX
  • FXM
  • FXX
  • Golf Channel
  • HLN
  • IFC
  • MLB Network
  • National Geographic
  • Nat Geo Wild
  • NBA TV
  • Newsy
  • Olympic Channel
  • Oxygen
  • Pop
  • SEC Network
  • Smithsonian Channel
  • Start TV
  • Sundance TV
  • Syfy
  • Tastemade
  • TBS
  • Telemundo
  • Tennis Channel
  • TNT
  • TruTV
  • Turner Classic Movies
  • Universal Kids
  • Universo
  • USA
  • We TV

    YouTube TV lineup
    YouTube TV channel lineup

2. Does YouTube TV include unlimited DVR?

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

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

In the video below, we demonstrate how to navigate YouTube TV’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. 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 stream your favorite shows on the big screen?

YouTube TV’s list of supported devices includes Google Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, Xbox One, and some Samsung and LG TVs.  However, Amazon’s Fire TV devices are NOT supported.

If you don’t already have a streaming device, Clark recommends the $30 Roku Express because it’s cheap and easy to use.

RELATED: Quick tips for first-time streamers

Roku Express streaming media player
Roku Express streaming media player

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.

If you want to use YouTube TV while traveling, you can access certain programs based on your location. Learn more here.

Pros and cons of YouTube TV 

Just like Clark, I’ve been impressed with YouTube TV. I didn’t experience error messages or buffering while streaming over an internet connection with roughly 60 Mbps download speed. (Learn how to check your download speed.)

YouTube TV has an impressive lineup of sports networks for $40 a month, but it lacks many of the most popular entertainment networks. DirecTV Now and Hulu with Live TV have more well-rounded bundles.

Unlimited DVR is a bright spot for YouTube TV because some of its competitors place limits on storage or charge extra for it. The ability for family members to have their own personalized DVR is also nice.

Most major streaming devices are compatible with YouTube TV, though Amazon Fire TV is a big exception.

YouTube TV: Pros and cons 

Pros Cons
One simple plan for $40/month Missing channels: A&E, Discovery, Food Network, History, HGTV, TLC, OWN and more
Lots of sports: ESPN, FS1, FS2, MLB Network, NBA TV and more Amazon Fire TV not a supported device
Unlimited DVR

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. They all have free trials!

Learn more and compare your options in Clark’s guide to the best live TV streaming plans and deals!

More Clark.com stories you may like: 

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