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
- What Is YouTube TV?
- How Much Does YouTube TV Cost?
- Does YouTube TV Offer Any Deals?
- What Channels Does YouTube TV Carry?
- Does YouTube TV Include Cloud DVR?
- How Can I Stream YouTube TV?
- Can My Family Share YouTube TV?
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 monthly price has increased several times since it launched.
YouTube TV Price History
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.
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
- Two weeks free has become more common
- The best sign-up offer that I’ve seen is three weeks free
When a free trial is not offered, you may see a discount such as $10 off a month for three months.
As of 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
But if you’re not into Roku, you can stream YouTube TV with Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV Stick and Apple TV, among others.
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.
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.
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!