June 9, 2023


YouTube TV


  • Extra channels than any competitor, and consists of PBS

  • Very good cloud DVR

  • Glorious on-screen interface and useful search bar

Do not like

  • $20 improve does not embrace a lot 4K content material

  • Pricier than Hulu’s reside plus on-demand content material bundle

Within the years since YouTube TV first launched, Google’s reside TV streaming service has constantly proved to be top-of-the-line, with a superior channel choice and an unbeatable person expertise. However with a current enhance to $73 a month, the service has greater than doubled in worth. The general worth is not as easy because it as soon as was, particularly towards competitor Hulu Plus Stay TV.

YouTube TV’s predominant energy for cord-cutters is its sheer variety of channels. It now gives 77 of the highest 100 networks, probably the most of any streaming service, a rely that features quite a few cable staples plus all 4 native networks — ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC — and native PBS stations nationwide. 

YouTube TV on a television screen

Sarah Tew/CNET

Past channels, YouTube TV is simple to make use of: it is slick and speedy on quite a lot of TVs and cell units. Its cloud DVR can also be top-of-the-line, with limitless storage and just about all of the capabilities of a {hardware} DVR. The service additionally gives a 4K streaming improve — for an extra $20 month-to-month — which, importantly, consists of limitless simultaneous streams and downloadable DVR recordings.

The massive snag is the worth, and if you happen to’re a cord-cutter, the cut-down Sling TV Blue at $40 a month is one of the simplest ways to save cash. On the different finish of the spectrum, the $70 Hulu Plus Stay TV is a barely higher worth with the same mixture of channels and the addition of the modified Disney Bundle. That mentioned, if you happen to’re used to the myriad channels and straightforward DVR expertise of a cable service, YouTube TV’s base $73 package deal is well worth the cash. It is slick, simple to make use of and remains to be deal for what you are getting.

What do you get?

YouTube TV is totally different from YouTube, the free video service with greater than 2 billion customers a month. YouTube TV gives an expertise much like cable TV, with reside channels and on-demand content material obtainable on quite a lot of units. It really works with Apple TV,
, Android TV, Chromecast and Amazon Fireplace TV together with quite a few good TVs, 
, tablets, sport consoles and net browsers. 

The service operates in a lot the identical means as its rivals: There is a program information, a DVR and dozens of channels. However what’s it that actually separates YouTube TV from competing premium ($60-plus a month) providers comparable to DirecTV Stream, Hulu Plus Stay TV and FuboTV? Let’s have a look.

Premium providers in contrast

YouTube TV DirecTV Stream Hulu Plus Stay TV FuboTV
Base worth $73/month $70/month $70/month $70/month
Whole variety of high 100 channels 77 62 73 56
ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC channels Sure Sure Sure Sure
Document exhibits for later (cloud DVR) Sure (preserve for 9 months) Sure (preserve for 9 months) Sure (50 hours, 200 hours plus industrial skip for $10/month) Sure (250 hours)
Step-up packages with extra channels No ($20/month for 4K, limitless streams, offline DVR downloads)  Sure Sure Sure
Simultaneous streams per account 3 20  2 ($10 possibility for limitless) 3

YouTube TV’s channel choice is great, with extra from CNET’s checklist of 100 high channels than another competitor (although Hulu is not too far behind). Nevertheless, extra channels do not essentially imply extra of what you need. Some providers, comparable to FuboTV, lean closely on sports activities, whereas others are more and more expansive. It is best to examine the checklist on the finish of this text, which compares particular person channels throughout providers, to make sure you’re getting the channels you need. Whereas rivals embrace various channel improve packages, YouTube consists of every thing for one worth, although with one exception defined under.

The service additionally consists of 5.1 encompass sound, the place obtainable, for all subscribers (most rivals are solely in stereo) and an growth of the DVR search, which might now pick particular sports activities (most helpful for occasions such because the Olympics).

What’s it like to make use of?

YouTube TV interface

Screenshot by Ty Pendlebury/CNET

In comparison with some providers with multilevel interfaces, YouTube TV is pretty easy. There are three tabs on the high of the interface: Library, House and Stay. Library is the place your DVR content material lives, and House is the place featured and reside thumbnails seem. The Stay tab is a familiar-looking program grid that shows each at present enjoying and upcoming exhibits. You possibly can seek for content material from the highest of any web page, making it comparatively simple to leap straight to the programming you need. It’s also possible to carry out searches with a appropriate voice distant or Google Assistant. Although that is simpler you probably have an Android TV streamer, you may additionally carry out searches in your Google Nest Mini and play it on a Roku, for instance.

The DVR works as you’d count on — each time-shifting reside content material and enjoying again recorded exhibits — and the system assigns your recorded content material to manageable classes, comparable to not too long ago recorded and most seen. The DVR additionally consists of the power to rewind and fast-forward freely by recordings, even ones that are not but accomplished. The Roku interface gives a 15-second skip by default, whereas the Apple TV’s management system through the Siri Distant is even higher. You should use the touchpad to scroll by movies — and it is superb! It is a lot enjoyable, and auto-generated thumbnails make it comparatively simple to get to the half you need.

Up to now, when a present appeared in a community’s on-demand library, it might mechanically substitute the model in your cloud DVR, which means you’d lose the power to fast-forward by commercials. YouTube TV says it removed that restriction in October 2018, however some CNET readers have complained that it nonetheless happens at occasions. Moreover, YouTube TV’s DVR is not really limitless — the exhibits will expire after 9 months (similar to Hulu), however that is nonetheless for much longer than the 30 days you get with most rivals.

Although Google used to combine YouTube into YouTube TV — with trailers and associated content material on a present’s About web page — this seems to not be the case. Nevertheless, the corporate is regularly tweaking the interface, and we might even see YouTube content material seem once more in some unspecified time in the future.

Is it well worth the $20 for 4K?


The 4K improve features a small collection of exhibits, however most are over two years outdated.

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

In a phrase, no. There is not sufficient content material proper now to justify the $20 improve, however there’s one new function that will show probably the most helpful, particularly for vacationers. Launched to coincide with the Olympics, YouTube TV’s $20 4K Plus add-on gives advantages, together with 4K sports activities and on-demand, an limitless variety of simultaneous streams, and the power to avoid wasting DVR recordings for offline cell viewing. In case you’re a frequent flyer or subway rider, the power to observe prerecorded exhibits with out an lively connection might be an actual boon.

As per YouTube TV’s 4K web page, the extra content material consists of exhibits from Discovery, ESPN, Fox Sports activities, FX, Nat Geo, NBC Sports activities and Tastemade. The interface features a 4K button to assist discover content material, however at current, this does not represent sufficient to stay round for. Along with a handful of exhibits, there’s Thursday Evening Soccer, “reside” Premier League soccer and faculty soccer on ESPN. The NCAA provides a bunch of 4K content material, however if you need soccer, 4K or a mixture of the 2, FuboTV gives much more sports activities for an $85 price ticket.

The 4K content material that’s obtainable, such because the cooking present Make This Tonight or the journey competitors present Fundamental Versus Baller, does look good, with higher distinction and colour than common broadcast TV. In context, although, the highest tier of Netflix is cheaper at $18 per thirty days and gives 1000’s of hours of 4K content material alone, plus offline viewing.

Consider it as a cable alternative

When it initially appeared for $35, YouTube TV was an exceedingly enticing means to save cash over cable. But because the service has piled on extra channels, it is added additional prices. So, if you take that $73 month-to-month price and apply it to the $50 you are already paying for web service, it means you are paying over $120 a month. Many cable TV suppliers offers you a TV-and-internet bundle for across the identical cash. Learn extra right here: Is Streaming Truly Cheaper Than Cable? We Do the Math.

Costs differ quite a bit, in fact, and with cable, you most likely should pay rental gear charges, taxes and different extras. And cable suppliers often reserve the perfect bundle pricing for individuals who signal a contract. The identical goes for “streaming” choices, comparable to Comcast’s Xfinity Flex. The rationale you need to minimize cable within the first place stays.

Like Hulu with Stay TV, Sling TV and others, YouTube TV is contract-free, so you may cancel anytime. Streaming providers additionally produce other benefits over cable. They’re simpler to observe on telephones and tablets, for instance. At $73 per thirty days, nevertheless, you will should be coming from a comparatively costly cable invoice to understand substantial financial savings with YouTube TV. 


The service comes with a complete program information.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Must you get YouTube TV?

If worth isn’t any object, YouTube TV goes neck and neck with Hulu Plus Stay TV because the premier reside TV streaming service, with an enormous array of leisure choices and top-of-the-line DVR/search combos available on the market. It gives extra channels than anybody else and its 5.1 encompass is nice for sports activities and film followers. In case you do not need to be beholden to a standard cable firm, it is an amazing various. 

Although $73 a month is a tricky expenditure for some individuals, with out a contract to fret about, you are free to leap ship to a greater deal at any time. The additional $20 on high is just a bridge too far for therefore little 4K content material, even when limitless streams and DVR downloads are helpful for prolonged households or vacationers. In order for you the perfect bang on your buck, then Hulu Plus Stay TV’s Disney bundle is pretty unbeatable.

Lastly, if you happen to’re a hard-core cord-cutter and decided to save cash, Sling TV Blue gives a compelling various, particularly when paired with an antenna or an AirTV 2

Under, you will discover a comparability of the highest 100 channels supplied by just a few of YouTube TV’s rivals. For extra info and comparisons with extra providers, try the complete article.

  • Sure = The channel is offered on the most affordable pricing tier.
  • No = The channel is not obtainable in any respect on that service. 
  • $ = The channel is offered for an additional price, both a la carte or as a part of a costlier package deal or add-on. 
  • Not each channel a service carries is listed, simply the “high 100” as decided by CNET’s editors. Minor channels comparable to AXS TV, CNBC World, Discovery Life, GSN, POP and Common Children did not make the minimize.
  • Regional sports activities networks — channels dedicated to displaying regular-season video games of explicit professional baseball, basketball and hockey groups — aren’t listed. 
  • High 100 channels in contrast

    Channel Philo ($25) Sling Orange ($40) Sling Blue ($40) Hulu with Stay TV ($70) YouTube TV ($73) FuboTV ($75) DirecTV Stream ($75)
    Whole channels 43 24 35 73 77 56 62
    ABC No No No Sure Sure Sure Sure
    CBS No No No Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Fox No No Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    NBC No No Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    PBS No No No No Sure No Sure
    CW No No No Sure Sure Sure Sure
    MyNetworkTV No No No Sure Sure No Sure
    A&E Sure Sure Sure Sure No No Sure
    ACC Community No $ No Sure Sure Sure $
    Accuweather Sure No No No No Sure Sure
    AMC Sure Sure Sure No Sure No Sure
    Animal Planet Sure No No Sure Sure Sure Sure
    BBC America Sure Sure Sure No Sure No Sure
    BBC World Information Sure $ $ No Sure No $
    BET Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Huge Ten Community No No $ Sure Sure Sure $
    Bloomberg TV Sure Sure Sure Sure No Sure Sure
    Boomerang No $ $ Sure No No Sure
    Bravo No No Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Cartoon Community No Sure Sure Sure Sure No Sure
    CBS Sports activities Community No No No Sure Sure Sure $
    Cheddar Sure No No Sure Sure Sure $
    Cinemax No No No $ $ No $
    CMT Sure $ $ Sure Sure Sure Sure
    CNBC No No $ Sure Sure Sure Sure
    CNN No Sure Sure Sure Sure No Sure
    Comedy Central Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Cooking Channel Sure $ $ $ No $ $
    Vacation spot America Sure $ $ $ No $ $
    Discovery Channel Sure No Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Disney Channel No Sure No Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Disney Junior No $ No Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Disney XD No $ No Sure Sure Sure Sure
    E! No No Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    EPIX $ $ $ No $ No $
    ESPN No Sure No Sure Sure Sure Sure
    ESPN 2 No Sure No Sure Sure Sure Sure
    ESPNEWS No $ No Sure Sure $ $
    ESPNU No $ No Sure Sure $ $
    Meals Community Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Fox Enterprise No No $ Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Fox Information No No Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    FS1 No No Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    FS2 No No $ Sure Sure Sure $
    Freeform No Sure No Sure Sure Sure Sure
    FX No No Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    FX Films No No $ Sure Sure $ $
    FXX No No $ Sure Sure Sure Sure
    FYI Sure $ $ Sure No No $
    Golf Channel No No $ Sure Sure Sure $
    Hallmark Sure $ $ Sure Sure Sure Sure
    HBO/HBO Max No No No $ $ No $
    HGTV Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Historical past Sure Sure Sure Sure No No Sure
    HLN No $ Sure Sure Sure No Sure
    IFC Sure Sure Sure No Sure No Sure
    Investigation Discovery Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Lifetime Sure Sure Sure Sure No No Sure
    Lifetime Film Community Sure $ $ Sure No No $
    Magnolia Community Sure $ $ $ No Sure $
    MLB Community No $ $ No No $ $
    Motor Development Sure Sure No Sure Sure Sure Sure
    MSNBC No No Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    MTV Sure $ $ Sure Sure Sure Sure
    MTV2 Sure $ $ $ Sure $ Sure
    Nationwide Geographic No No Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Nat Geo Wild No No $ Sure Sure $ $
    NBA TV No $ $ No Sure $ $
    NFL Community No No Sure Sure Sure Sure No
    NFL Pink Zone No No $ $ $ $ No
    NHL Community No $ $ No No $ $
    Nickelodeon Sure No No Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Nick Jr. Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure $
    Nicktoons Sure $ $ $ Sure $ $
    OWN Sure No No Sure Sure Sure $
    Oxygen No No $ Sure Sure Sure $
    Paramount Community Sure $ $ Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Science Sure $ $ $ No $ $
    SEC Community No $ No Sure Sure $ $
    Showtime No $ $ $ $ $ $
    Smithsonian Sure No No Sure Sure Sure $
    Starz $ $ $ $ $ $ $
    Sundance TV Sure $ $ No Sure No Sure
    Syfy No No Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Tastemade Sure $ $ No Sure Sure $
    TBS No Sure Sure Sure Sure No Sure
    TCM No $ $ Sure Sure No Sure
    TeenNick Sure $ $ $ Sure $ Sure
    Telemundo No No No Sure Sure Sure $
    Tennis Channel No $ $ No No $ $
    TLC Sure No Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    TNT No Sure Sure Sure Sure No Sure
    Journey Channel Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure $
    TruTV No $ Sure Sure Sure No Sure
    TV Land Sure $ $ Sure Sure Sure Sure
    USA Community No No Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
    VH1 Sure $ $ Sure Sure Sure Sure
    Vice Sure Sure Sure Sure No No Sure
    WE television Sure $ $ No Sure No Sure

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