YouTube rapidly rose to prominence as a streaming service. Now, YouTube competes with the top cable replacement streaming services with its YouTube TV. Interested in using YouTube TV as a cable alternative? Learn more in this YouTube TV review!
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Cord cutting with YouTube TV
Starting at $35, YouTube TV is definitely one of the most affordable streaming options available. At this price, YouTube TV offers over 48 channels, a phenomenal value. [Read: Intro to cord cutting - Hulu TV review]
YouTube TV channel lineups
YouTube TV as a cable alternative presents plenty of channels. There's local content from ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. You'll find popular networks such as BBC America, AMC, Disney Jr., and Disney XD. FX, FXX, FXM, SyFy, and USA all come standard as well. Additionally, YouTube TV delivers sports streaming and and select premium networks. [Read: Intro to cord cutting - DirecTV Now review]
Best Plex Client Devices:
- NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro Home Media Server - $199.99
- Amazon Fire TV Streaming Media Player - $89.99
- Roku Premiere+ 4K UHD - $83.99
- CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 Complete Starter Kit - $69.99
- Xbox One 500 GB Console - $264.99
For sports streaming, YouTube TV carries the majority of networks. You'll find ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN U, ESPN News, Fox Sports, FS1, FS2, the Tennis Channel, SEC Network, Olympic Channel, BTN, NBC Sports, and NBCSN.
- ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN U, ESPN News
- NBCSN, NBC Sports
- Olympic Channel
- SEC Network
- Fox Sports, FS1, FS2
- Tennis Channel
In addition to its vanilla lineup, you'll find some premium channels available for streaming. These include Showtime and Fox Soccer Plus. Unfortunately, there's no HBO or Cinemax. But HBO is available standalone, so that's not a major issue. You won't find some channels such as Nick Jr. or MTV, though overall it's a beefy lineup, especially considering the price. [Read: Intro to cord cutting - PS Vue review]
On the hardware fronts, there's quite a lot of choice. On PCs and macOS devices, you can watch in almost any browser. While YouTube TV suggests Chrome, I'd recommend Firefox Quantum, not just for YouTube TV but general use. For tablets and phones, YouTube TV is available on Android Lollipop and later devices, and 9.1 or after for iOS. Plus, you may stream over Chromecast, Android TV, and select smart TVs from LG and Samsung, the Xbox One, and Apple AirPlay. Notably, Android TV compatibility is a major bonus since there's a native YouTube TV app for devices like the Nvidia Shield TV. For PlayStation users, there's, unfortunately, no YouTube TV app. Conspicuously missing is an app for Roku and Apple TV, but that's reportedly on the way.
- Mobile/Tablet: Android L or later, iOS 9.1 or later
- PC/macOS: Most any browser, Chrome recommended (or Firefox QUantum)
- Android TV
- Xbox One
- Apple AirPlay
- Select Samsung and LG smart TVs
DVR and simultaneous streams
As per industry standard, YouTube TV does boast a DVR. Impressively, it's sans storage limits. Well, sort of. Although touted as limitless, recordings can only be kept for nine months. Still, storage space is unlimited. For account sharing with family and friends, you can create up to six accounts. Furthermore, YouTube's service allows for three simultaneous streams. [Read: Intro to cord cutting - Sling TV review]
Final thoughts: Is YouTube TV good?
During my testing of YouTube TV, I was incredibly pleased. There's a pleasant channel lineup, solid array of hardware compatibility, and affordable pricing. Plus, YouTube TV sports among the best DVR, simultaneous stream, and user account options. In my YouTube TV review, I appreciated its simplicity. There's just one package with straightforward pricing and a few add-on options. Additionally, YouTube TV includes each major network and features tons of sports streaming channels.
Although I prefer using my Android TV device, many users may be disappointed by the lack of a Roku app. While that's slated for an early 2018 release, it's a potential downside. Although most consumers likely have some means to stream YouTube TV. Considering its competitive pricing, beefy channel lineup, and fantastic features, YouTube TV as a cable replacement is a great pick for the average user, especially sports fans.
Your turn: Have you tried YouTube TV? What are your thoughts on the best streaming services for cord cutters?