Taking a Closer Look at YouTube TV


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Family sitting in living room with remote control smiling

This week Google finally gave us a look at its long-awaited live TV service YouTube TV (formally known as YouTube Unplugged).

Although we now have an official look at it, you will still have to wait a few months to get your hands on the service. So for now all we can do is try to breakdown what we do know and figure out what we still have to learn.

Channels

With YouTube TV you will be able to watch the top four broadcast networks—ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS—and 35 or so of their affiliated cable channels including ESPN, Disney Channel, MSNBC, National Geographic, and Fox News. Subscribers will also get a DVR to record shows and unlimited storage in the cloud. The only catch is that shows are automatically deleted after 9 months. (We do not know at this time what markets will get live local channels.)

Sadly many popular channels are still missing. Viacom and its channels, such as MTV, Spike TV, and Comedy Central, are all missing. So are Time Warner-owned channels such as HBO, TNT, and CNN. AMC is also missing.

The price point of $35 does lead us to believe that Google may add more channels to this lineup because DIRECTV NOW offers 60 channels for $35 and Sling TV offers 80 channels for $35 a month.

You will also be able to add Showtime and Fox Soccer Plus to your plan.

Devices

YouTube TV subscribers will be able to watch YouTube TV on smartphones, tablets, and laptop computers. Although YouTube did announce that you will be able to cast to devices they are assumedly devices such as Chromecast and maybe Android TV.

Sadly Roku, Fire TV, and Apple TV are all missing from the list of supported devices. Google seems to be focusing on this as primarily a mobile service. Having it mobile is nice, but I still find that most cord cutters really want the ability to watch TV on the big screen. If it does launch without support for Roku, Fire TV, and Apple TV it will likely negatively impact the service.

Number of Streams & Profiles

In the YouTube blog post about YouTube TV it said you will be able to have three streams at once. You will also be able to make six profiles each with its own recommendations and personal DVR.

DVR

What may be the most attractive feature of YouTube TV is the DVR. You will get unlimited DVR storage and the recordings will be saved for 9 months.

App Sign In

The biggest missing feature is lack of any mention of sign in support for apps such as WatchESPN and Fox Sports Go. The lack of any support for even basic apps, such as WatchESPN, is a huge omission.

Availability 

YouTube TV will roll out “soon in the largest U.S. markets” and then “expand to cover more cities across the country.”

Final Thoughts

We are still at least a month away from the service coming out to the public. We will likely learn more in the weeks (and possibly months) to come.

There are a few things that will make this service standout. Most notably: the unlimited DVR that will keep the shows for 9 months.

However, the lack of many popular channels such as AMC, Viacom, and Time Warner will likely be a drawback.

While a Chromecast is inexpensive the lack of support for Roku, Apple TV, and Fire TV will be a hard pill to swallow for many cord cutters who have invested in expensive streaming players.

Overall, there are definitely many cord cutters who will find the new YouTube TV a perfect fit for them.

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