Skip to main content

YouTube adds live TV streaming to its arsenal with new subscription service

Image used with permission by copyright holder
The live TV streaming space just continues to get more crowded. First there was Sling TV, then PlayStation Vue, and more recently DirecTV Now. Hulu also has a similar service on the way, and on Tuesday, YouTube finally announced its long-awaited entry into live TV streaming, dubbed YouTube TV.

In many ways, YouTube TV is very similar to its competition, offering programming from channels like ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN, and regional sports networks. YouTube has partnered with local TV stations as well, aiming to provide users with local news and sports no matter where they live, though it’s currently unknown whether local channels will be available everywhere the service is offered.

There are differences. Unlike its competition, YouTube TV won’t carry channels from Viacom or other companies that work exclusively with cable operators. Still, you’ll find channels like FX, USA, Syfy, and Bravo. This means less available channels, but still more than 40 networks available for a subscription fee of $35 per month.

Like PlayStation Vue and soon Sling TV, YouTube TV offers a Cloud TV service for catching up on your favorite shows. Nobody likes sorting through someone else’s DVR recordings looking for the show they want to watch, so YouTube TV comes with a total of six accounts, all with their own recommendations and DVR storage limits.

If you’re already a heavy user of YouTube, this new service will have even more to offer you. In the blog post announcing the new service, Christian Oestlien,YouTube product management director, writes that the company is “thrilled to build an experience that lets you enjoy it as easily as you watch YouTube.” To that end, there is some integration with existing services, like the ability to watch YouTube Red original series and movies via YouTube TV.

The company says viewers will be able to watch on their phone, tablet or computer, as well as TVs via either a Chromecast device or a TV with Chromecast built in. Stand-alone apps for streaming boxes like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or Apple TV haven’t been mentioned so far.

YouTube TV is launching soon in “the largest U.S. markets,” and will expand to cover more cities across the country. For more information on YouTube TV, visit the new service’s website.

Editors' Recommendations

Kris Wouk
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kris Wouk is a tech writer, gadget reviewer, blogger, and whatever it's called when someone makes videos for the web. In his…
YouTube NFL outage: Should Google give refunds or credits?
NFL Sunday Ticket info as seen on a TV.

The error message seen on October 29, 2023, alerting NFL fans to what they already knew — games weren't streaming well. Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

The good news is we — by which I mean Google, YouTube, and YouTube TV — made it halfway through the season without any real sort of major technical hiccup as the exclusive home of NFL Sunday Ticket. But on October 29, in the thick of Week 8 (out of 17), problems did arise.

Read more
NFL buffering on YouTube TV? You’re not alone today
An error message for the NFL on YouTube and YouTube TV

We've got bad news for anyone who relies on YouTube and YouTube TV for their NFL games — there's some definite lag happening today. It's so bad and so apparent that there's a message atop the YouTube TV help pages.

The message reads: "If you're experiencing buffering issues on YouTube, our team is aware and working on a fix. YouTube TV or NFL Sunday Ticket may also be impacted."

Read more
Everyone is missing the point on streaming video
App icons on the Apple TV homescreen.

Yes, there are a million ways to watch streaming video. And that's the way it should be. Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

There's a tremendous amount of gnashing of teeth anytime a streaming service increases its prices. There's a scramble by media outlets to update SEO-friendly posts and quickly offer alternatives, as if this was all a zero-sum game and you're able to watch the same things on all the services. Or maybe it's time to go back to cable altogether because streaming video is just too darn expensive and it's too hard to find what you want to watch. We're in one of those times in which it feels like all the services are increasing all the prices, to the extent that Engadget has plainly asked "Is streaming even still worth it?"

Read more