YouTube TV has been my #1 pick for people who want to cut the cable TV cord and still watch their favorite channels.
But after another price hike, is the live TV streaming service worth it?
YouTube TV Review 2023 From a Real Customer
I’ve been using YouTube TV since shortly after it launched in 2017. There are a few reasons why I recommend it to first-time streamers:
- Well-rounded channel lineup
- Unlimited cloud DVR storage
- No equipment, contracts or hidden fees
- Simple user interface
Those are the pros, but there are some cons that you need to consider before you sign up. I’ll break it all down in my updated review for 2023!
YouTube TV raised the base plan price to $72.99 per month in March 2023. That’s around the same price as other premium live TV services like Hulu Live, DIRECTV STREAM and Fubo.
It was YouTube TV’s first price hike in nearly three years.
YouTube TV Price History
YouTube TV Add-Ons
At the time of the March 2023 price increase for the base plan, YouTube TV lowered the price of its 4K Plus add-on by $10 per month. It’s now $9.99 per month.
New users can get that add-on for a discounted price of $4.99 per month for 12 months.
Many YouTube TV users will be fine with the base plan and no add-ons. However, there are a few popular ones like Sports Plus with NFL RedZone for $10.99 per month.
Starting in 2023, NFL Sunday Ticket is a premium add-on available to YouTube TV subscribers.
NFL Sunday Ticket is also available standalone through YouTube Primetime Channels, but the company says YouTube TV subscribers will be offered a lower price.
No Hidden Fees
With YouTube TV, there are no hidden fees for equipment, DVR or broadcast TV channels.
When you’re comparing the price of YouTube TV to a cable or satellite provider, make sure to factor in the hidden fees that other providers charge.
I obtained an Xfinity cable bill that includes nearly $50 in additional monthly charges:
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.
Free Trial or Free Preview
YouTube TV typically offers a free trial or at least a free preview period.
That should give you enough time to see if you can get the hang of the service. Also, use this free trial period to evaluate the sound and picture quality.
The service regularly offers new customers a discount such as $10 off per month for three months.
No Annual Contract
YouTube TV has no contracts, so you never have to worry about an early termination fee.
With the service, you prepay for a month at a time. If you decide to cancel YouTube TV, you’ll continue to have access to the service until the end of the billing period.
The service typically doesn’t offer prorated refunds.
When YouTube TV raised its price in March 2023, the company said it was because of the rising cost of content.
In this section, I’ll cover what you get for your money.
YouTube TV is what I call a Cable 2.0 service. The base plan bundles more than 100 live TV channels, including cable networks and local stations.
Here’s a snapshot of the channel list:
- Local Stations: ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS, CW 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, CNBC and more
The way I see it, YouTube TV only makes sense for people who watch a lot of live sports and cable news networks.
It may also be a solution for people who can’t pick up local stations with an antenna.
There are dozens of cable entertainment networks on YouTube TV, but many of them are full of reruns and low-budget reality TV shows.
In general, the best entertainment programming has moved to on-demand services like Netflix.
Ask yourself: Are you still enjoying the content on cable and broadcast TV? If so, YouTube TV may be a good value.
To see the full list of channels where you live, including local stations, go to YouTube TV’s website and enter your ZIP code.
3. Cloud DVR
I mentioned earlier that YouTube TV has no DVR fees. That’s because you don’t use a physical DVR with the service. You still get a DVR – it’s just in the cloud.
The service offers:
- Unlimited cloud DVR storage in the base plan
- Recordings are saved for up to nine months
With just a click, you can record shows, movies, games and events to watch on your schedule.
If you set a recording for a series, YouTube TV is going to record all episodes — new episodes and reruns. There’s no way to record or delete a single episode if it’s a series.
This is one of the biggest complaints I hear from users who want more control over their DVR.
The best thing about adding shows to your DVR is that you can avoid commercials. With YouTube TV, you can typically fast-forward through the ads once a program is recorded.
Networks also make a lot of programs available on-demand with ads you can’t skip.
To get around this, set as many recordings as possible. If you see two versions of a program available in your library – DVR and VOD – always select the DVR version.
That way, you’ll be able to fast-forward through the commercials.
4. Required Equipment
A lot of first-time streamers worry that they won’t be able to figure out YouTube TV because it’s not exactly like their cable provider.
However, it’s pretty easy to get started with equipment you may already own.
Like all streaming services, YouTube TV requires a high-speed internet connection and a supported device to stream on mobile devices, your computer or a TV set.
I use a Roku device to stream YouTube TV to a TV set, but that’s not a requirement.
In addition to Roku, YouTube TV supports Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV Stick and Apple TV. The YouTube TV app is also available on newer smart TVs from Samsung, LG and more.
For streaming on the go, Android and Apple devices are supported. See the full list of devices here.
5. User Experience
Check out what YouTube TV looks like from a TV set. There are only three main sections: the home screen, live guide and cloud DVR library.
Most users agree that the live guide has a cable-like look and feel.
From a computer or mobile device, you can edit the list of networks shown in the live guide so that you only see your favorites.
That’s just one of the YouTube TV tips and tricks I’ve compiled for you here.
YouTube TV has added a few features that really improve the viewing experience, like multiview to watch up to four channels on a single screen.
I think this feature alone will keep some sports fans from canceling after the price hike.
6. Family Sharing
You only need 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.
The family manager can add up to five people to YouTube TV. That way, everyone will get their own login, recommendations and cloud DVR library.
To join a family group, you must primarily live in the same household as the family manager.
Larger households may require more than three simultaneous streams. The 4K Plus add-on gets you unlimited in-home streams and three streams outside of the home.
7. Best YouTube TV Alternatives
By now, I hope you understand why I’ve recommended YouTube TV to people who are new to cutting the cord.
But if the high monthly price is a concern, I have a few ideas.
Switch to a Cheaper Live TV Service
Sling TV is a good live TV streaming option for people on a budget.
The service has two base plans: Sling Orange and Sling Blue. They’re $40 per month each, but you can combine them and pay $55 per month.
Like YouTube TV, Sling TV’s bundles include cable networks. However, Sling doesn’t offer complete coverage for locals. That’s the primary reason why it’s cheaper!
Philo and Frndly TV are two cheaper live TV streaming options. These services focus on entertainment and lifestyle networks – not sports, news and local stations.
Philo is $25 per month, while Frndly TV has a plan starting at $7 per month.
Pause or Cancel YouTube TV for a Few Months
For a few years, I’ve paid for YouTube TV during the winter and then switched to Sling TV for the summer when I watch less TV.
That’s one way to put more money back in your pocket.
Remember that live TV streaming services don’t have contracts. Use that flexibility to your advantage. If you’re not watching the service regularly, pause or cancel it.
Drop Live TV Altogether
If you find yourself spending more time with services like Netflix and less time with services like YouTube TV, think about dropping live TV altogether.
This strategy will save you money, even if you apply it for only a month or two out of the year.
Plenty of people are perfectly happy hooking up an antenna for local stations, downloading free streaming apps and paying only for on-demand services like Netflix.
YouTube TV has the best overall channel lineup among cable TV replacements, plus unlimited DVR and an easy-to-use interface.
That’s why it’s my #1 pick!
When a customer leaves their cable or satellite provider for a live TV streaming service like YouTube TV, they typically save money because they no longer pay hidden fees.
However, YouTube TV is still a bundle. You will pay for channels you don’t watch.
Many people I’ve talked to are planning to stick with YouTube TV after the price hike, particularly sports fans. But it doesn’t hurt to explore your options and shop around.
I regularly update my guide to help you compare the best live TV streaming plans!
23 thoughts on “YouTube TV Review: 7 Things to Know Before You Sign Up in 2023”
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.
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?
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.
I am currently subscribed to YOUTUBE TV. Do you have a video suggesting all the different ways you can personalize the channel?
Hi there! Yes, 15 settings for YouTube TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIwXolpsDJA
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.
I am in a 2 week trial with youtube tv. I have 3 tv’s in separate rooms I want to be able to stream to each of them individually. I set up my account in the front room and I want to be able to use youtube tv on the 2 other tvs. I can’t figure out how to do it. Are there written instructions on how to operate you tube tv (rearrange guide, schedule recordings etc)?
I have a video guide with this info! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIwXolpsDJA
Is there a user manual available to download to my computer? I currently have at&t uverse that I will cancel if I can figure out how to use youtube tv.
I have a video on YouTube TV settings that may help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIwXolpsDJA
Mike: Please clarify the following. On You Tube TV. One can have three devices and up to six accounts. I have four televisions and two living in the house hold Is there away to put all four devices on the one account?
Hi Sam. Yes! 3 simultaneous streams just means you can’t have 4 TV’s (or a combination of TV sets, phones and computers) actively watching YouTube TV at the same time. You can still have the app downloaded on them and signed in with the same account — just not all 4 at the exact same time. Six accounts are in case you want different profiles for various family members. Some households just use the primary user account for everyone.
Hi Michael, If I set up Youtube TV for use by guests at our beach rental, is there anything I need to worry about or do you have recommendations for how to set this up. I don’t want guests to have the ability to make purchases or to see any of my other google stuff. Thanks, Peter
Hmm. YouTube TV has family sharing. Can you create an email account for your rental property (if you don’t have one already), and use that for guests? And then when you’re using YouTube TV, just use your regular main Gmail? https://support.google.com/youtubetv/answer/7251139?hl=en
I cut the cord a couple of months ago. I have Comcast as my provider, but it’s not going well. Because it’s just my husband and I and we only have our 2 phones and 2 tvs, I opted for 50mbps. It’s not enough…so I ordered a wifi “booster” and hope that helps. The tv in the kitchen is the farthest away from the combination modem/router, and it is a Samsung tv. It was working for a while, but I haven’t been able to connect to wifi for quite a while. My question is, after I get a stronger wifi signal, can I attach a Roku stick to the Samsung tv? I know it’s already a smart tv, but the remote requires a master’s degree to learn about it. I called Samsung to ask the same question, and he said “Lady, why would you even want to do that?” So I guess he was too condescending and impatient to give me an answer!
Yes you can absolutely hook up a Roku to the Samsung. That is what I do! Here I talk about this issue in a short YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1z0GFarwwaU
when we watch msnbc or cnn ( I dont think it appears on any other stations) instead of ads occasionally we get a dark screen that says
We’ll be right back
that last four a couple of minutes.
Why is that and can we get rid of it
I tried to copy and past a screen shot and it dien’t work. If you want to email me I can show you what I am talking about.
It’s unsold ad inventory. Unfortunately, nothing you can do about it. Sorry!
Hey Michael, I am still confused on the family plan If I invite my 3 brother and they sign up using their email, do we each get 3 tv at one time or do we all share the 3.I am still confused on the family plan
YouTube TV is intended for one household only. With the baes plan, you get 3 streams across all of the individuals on the account.
and we all live in separate houses.
I live in a condo. Can I get Youtube tv and then have 5 other condo owners in my building sign into my account to watch Youtube tv?
It’s intended for one household only