There’s a new No. 1 in the world of live TV streaming in the United States. The leader, apparently, is YouTube TV.
In a blog post penned by Christian Oestlien, VP of Product Management for YouTube TV and Connected TV, the company says “today, we’re humbled that 5 million of you are currently on this journey with us.” That’s some 2 million more subscribers since the last time we got an update in October 2020, when YouTube TV crowed about having “more than 3 million” subscribers. The new 5 million number also includes those who are in the trial period, YouTube TV said.
Unlike most of its competitors, YouTube TV doesn’t give a precise breakdown of its subscriber numbers. Hulu With Live TV does, however, reporting 4.1 million subscribers as of April 2022. Sling TV reported 2.252 million subscribers, and FuboTV had 1.056 million subscribers as of March 31, 2022.
The blog post also laid out a few fun facts. The current five most DVR’d shows? Yellowstone, SaturdayNight Live, This is Us, 60 Minutes, and Grey’s Anatomy.
YouTube TV has one main plan with more than 100 channels. It costs $65 and includes support for up to a half-dozen connected profiles and unlimited recording. There’s also a pricey 4K option, which gets you some live sports and a fair number of on-demand shows in the higher resolution, all for an extra $20 a month.
YouTube TV also has a fair number of optional add-ons, including a “Spanish Plus” extra with more than 25 Spanish-language channels, NBA League Pass, MLB.TV, Showtime, Starz, and more. There’s also a separate “Spanish Plan” that’s available separately for $25 a month.
Multiview almost fixes one of the biggest problems with YouTube TV
Flipping through the myriad college football games on a recent weekend, I was struck by a revelation: Multiview on YouTube TV — even in its imperfect, inflexible form — nearly fixes one of my biggest gripes about the leading live streaming platform.
The "problem" really isn't a problem insofar as anything is actually broken. It's just the way YouTube TV works, and it's almost certainly something done by design. If you're a habitual channel-flipper, you already know full well how streaming services like YouTube TV, Hulu With Live TV, and other options aren't exactly known for making it quick to fly through the channels, one after another.
When it comes to streaming live TV in the U.S. (or streaming any kind of video anywhere, for that matter), resolution and bit rate remain as important as ever. And you're now able to enjoy YouTube TV in 4K. Some of it, at least. And if it seems like it's taken forever for that to happen, you're not wrong.
The basic fact is that it takes a lot of bandwidth to stream video — and that's even more difficult when you're talking linear TV, (and more so still if it's a live event like sports). So it's not really that much of a surprise to learn that most live channels stream at 720p resolution — or maybe 1080p if you're lucky. (We'll leave frame rate out of the equation for a minute, but it's a thing, too, especially for sports.)
Can you buy NFL Sunday Ticket on a TV? Yes, no, and sort of
It's tough to hit a YouTube property lately without running into a giant banner for NFL Sunday Ticket. And for good reason — the only (legal) service that lets you watch all the Sunday NFL games has moved from DirecTV to YouTube and YouTube TV. And that means that NFL Sunday Ticket is available to a lot more people. Like, all of them.
That's a good thing. The ability to watch what you want on whatever hardware you have is important. But there's a funny little fluke when it comes to how you buy NFL Sunday Ticket. Depending on the platform you're on, you might not actually be able to purchase NFL Sunday Ticket. At least not without taking a few extra steps.