YouTube TV Review

YouTube TV Review: 7 Things to Know Before You Sign Up in 2021

YouTube TV is my #1 pick for first-time streamers who want the best of cable TV at a lower monthly price, but is it right for you? 

I’ve tested the streaming TV service extensively since it launched in 2017. In this YouTube TV review, I’ll share seven things you need to know before you sign up.

YouTube TV Review

1. What Is YouTube TV? 

YouTube TV is an internet-based live TV streaming service that offers more than 85 channels, unlimited cloud DVR and three simultaneous streams with the base plan. 

But unlike cable or satellite, YouTube TV has no equipment, contracts or hidden monthly fees.

The service is available nationwide. It requires a high-speed internet connection, plus a supported device to stream to your TV set.

2. How Much Does YouTube TV Cost? 

YouTube TV’s base plan starts at $65 per month, as of this writing. That’s the same price as competitors Hulu Live and fuboTV

YouTube TV’s monthly price has increased about once per year since it launched.

YouTube TV Price History

April 2017 $35/month
March 2018$40/month
April 2019 $50/month
June 2020$65/month

YouTube TV added a 4K Plus add-on in June 2021. It offers the ability to stream 4K content, download programs for offline viewing and unlimited streams at home. The cost is $19.99 per month, but a discount was offered at launch.

Another popular add-on is Sports Plus for just over $10/month. That package includes NFL RedZone.

A lot of people I know are able to stick with the base plan, at least for most of the year. Just go easy on the upgrades if you’re on a budget.

And although there are no hidden fees, you may have to pay taxes. Depending on where you live, YouTube TV may be required to collect sales or communications taxes. 

Learn more about YouTube TV taxes in this related article. 

3. Does YouTube TV Offer Any Deals? 

You may have noticed that streaming services like Netflix are doing away with free trials, but not YouTube TV.

I’ve been tracking the service’s free trial offers for several years:

  • Typically, new subscribers will get at least one week free.
  • At the time of this writing, it’s two weeks free. That’s become more common lately. 
  • And the best sign-up offer that I’ve seen is three weeks free.

Starting in April 2021, T-Mobile postpaid wireless and home internet customers can get $10 off YouTube TV every month. Learn more about this deal on T-Mobile’s website

4. What Channels Does YouTube TV Carry? 

YouTube TV now offers more than 85 channels in its base plan. Live sports, cable news and entertainment — plus your local stations.

Here’s a snapshot of the channel list:

  • Local Stations: ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS and more
  • Sports: ESPN, SEC Network, FS1, Golf Channel and more
  • Kids: Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and more
  • Entertainment: AMC, Comedy Central, FX, Bravo, HGTV, TLC, USA and more
  • News: CNN, FOX News, MSNBC and more

To see the full list of channels where you live, including local stations, go to YouTube TV’s website and enter your zip code.

TIP: If you sign up for YouTube TV, see my related video to learn how to customize the YouTube TV channel lineup by reordering and removing channels. 

5. Does YouTube TV Include Cloud DVR? 

Cloud DVR is YouTube TV’s secret weapon. 

  • When you sign up for YouTube TV, you get unlimited cloud DVR storage.
  • You can record as many shows as you want and they’re stored for up to nine months.
  • Fast forward through the ads of the content that’s in your DVR.

With unlimited DVR, you have the ability to create your own library, including cable reruns of shows like Friends and The Office, which could save you a subscription to an on-demand streaming service.

YouTube TV’s DVR is all or nothing. You can’t record only a single episode or the latest season.

6. How Can I Stream YouTube TV? 

YouTube TV is available to stream from your phone, computer/tablet or to a TV set with a supported device. 

And the good news is there are many compatible devices.

Streaming Media Players

In my article for first-time cord cutters, I recommend affordable Roku devices under $50 like the Roku Premiere and Roku Streaming Stick+. Those are great to stream YouTube TV.

A few regulars of my YouTube channel also like Roku Ultra — it’s about $100.

But if you’re not into Roku, you can stream YouTube TV with Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV Stick and Apple TV, among others. 

IMPORTANT: As of April 30, the YouTube TV app is not available to download through Roku for new subscribers. However, YouTube TV has added a way for Roku users to access the service through the regular YouTube app. Details here.

Here’s a link to the full list of the supported devices. 

Smart TVs

I recommend streaming media players like Roku for a high-quality user experience, but you may not need one if you have a newer smart TV from brands like Samsung and LG. 

The YouTube TV app may be pre-installed or available for download on your smart TV.

Mobile Devices

For streaming on the go, Android and Apple devices are supported. Just know that streaming uses up a lot of data. 

TIP: If you’re looking for a truly unlimited cell phone plan, check out my review of Verizon-owned Visible. It offers unlimited talk, text and data for $25 a month with Party Pay.

7. Can My Family Share YouTube TV? 

You need only one YouTube TV account for your entire household. With the base plan, you get three simultaneous streams and up to six user accounts.

That means you can have three devices using the service at the same time from within a single home.

In addition, the family manager can add up to five people to YouTube TV and everyone will get their own viewing preferences and cloud DVR.

To join a family group, you must live in the same household as the family manager. 

Final Thoughts 

YouTube TV has the best overall channel lineup among cable TV replacements, plus unlimited DVR and three simultaneous streams. That’s why it’s my #1 pick.

The user experience is also simple and cable-like. 

But if YouTube TV’s price is a concern, Sling TV and Philo are two cheaper streaming TV services to replace cable. Learn about them in my live TV streaming guide

If you’re a YouTube TV subscriber, add to my review in the comments below!

More Streaming TV Articles From Michael Saves:

6 thoughts on “YouTube TV Review: 7 Things to Know Before You Sign Up in 2021”

  1. Do you think it’s going up again in 2021? If so, by how much? I agree it’s the best streaming service but if they raise it again I might just go to Dish Network.

  2. Hi, I just watched your video for first time cord cutters and YouTube TV and found it helpful but I have questions. If I have two TV’s in the house do I need two fire sticks? Do I need to log-in each time I turn on the set or is it always open until I log-out? My WiFi is 200 mega seconds per second, is this enough?

    1. Hi there. 200 Mbps is good!!! If you have two TVs, ideally you want 2 devices. You can unplug them and move them around, but that’s not practical on a daily basis. So for each TV set, I have a separate streaming device. And you will not have to log in with your password every time, but you want to CLOSE OUT of the apps you use to avoid using nonstop data. Good luck.

  3. Michael,
    I am currently subscribed to YOUTUBE TV. Do you have a video suggesting all the different ways you can personalize the channel?
    Thank you

  4. I have had you tube tv for about 18 months. In the beginning it would intermittently freeze and just keep buffering. I got a new router and new fire stick. Recently the channel constantly freezes buffers for at times the whole day. I would not recommend you tube tv.

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