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

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YouTube TV is the leading Cable 2.0 service for a few reasons. It has an excellent channel lineup, unlimited cloud DVR storage and lots of features. The biggest downside? The high monthly price.

✅ Well-rounded channel lineup
✅ Unlimited cloud DVR storage included
✅ No contract or hidden fees
✅ Simple to use and plenty of ways to customize
❌ High monthly price
❌ DVR functionality: No way to record or delete single episodes in a series
❌ Few regional sports networks offered
❌ Extra charge for 4K content
❌ Slow rollout for new features

YouTube TV is my #1 pick for most people who want to cut the cord and still watch their favorite cable and broadcast TV channels. 

My recommendation is based on seven years of testing YouTube TV and its competitors.

YouTube TV Review From a Real Customer

YouTube TV has grown to eight million subscribers. The service has added new channels and features over the years. However, the monthly price has more than doubled.

YouTube TV launched at $35 per month back in 2017. Now, it starts at $73 per month.

YouTube TV Fast Facts:

  • What Is YouTube TV?: YouTube TV is a live TV streaming service that lets you watch cable and broadcast TV networks using an internet connection and a supported device.
  • How Much Is YouTube TV Per Month?: The YouTube TV base plan is $72.99 per month after a March 2023 price increase. In addition to that price, some states and cities require the service to collect taxes.
  • What Channels Does YouTube TV Offer?: YouTube TV’s base plan includes more than 100 popular cable networks and your local broadcast TV stations. Regional sports networks are very limited. It is the exclusive home of NFL Sunday Ticket.
  • Can You Record on YouTube TV?: Members get unlimited cloud DVR storage and recordings are saved for up to nine months.
  • What Equipment Do I Need to Use YouTube TV?: You need a high-speed internet connection and a supported device. There is no special YouTube TV remote. Compatible devices include Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Chromecast with Google TV. Several smart TV brands like Samsung and LG are also supported.
  • How Is YouTube TV Different From Cable?: Unlike many cable and satellite providers, YouTube TV has no hidden fees, annual contracts or installation appointments.
  • How Is YouTube TV’s User Experience?: YouTube TV is easy to use, especially for those who are familiar with the main YouTube app. The interface is simple, but it still provides opportunities for customization.

After YouTube TV’s most recent price hike, many cord-cutters have told me they’re not sure the service is still worth it. In this article, I’ll share my experience to help you decide.

Here are seven things to know before you sign up for YouTube TV!

1. Pricing

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 the first price hike in nearly three years, according to my YouTube TV Price Tracker.

YouTube TV Price Tracker

April 2017 $35/month
March 2018$40/month
April 2019 $50/month
June 2020$65/month
March 2023 (Current price)$73/month

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, the are a few popular ones like Sports Plus with NFL RedZone and Tennis Channel for $10.99 per month. 

The YouTube TV Sports Plus add-on includes the following networks:

  • NFL RedZone
  • FOX Soccer Plus
  • VSiN
  • Outside TV+
  • PokerGO+
  • FanDuel TV
  • Stadium
  • Billiard TV
  • SportsGrid
  • PlayersTV
  • Fight Network
  • IMPACT Wrestling
  • Tennis Channel

YouTube TV’s $72.99 per month base plan is required to sign up for Sports Plus. However, you can add or remove the add-on whenever you want.

For example, many YouTube TV subscribers only pay for Sports Plus during football season to get NFL RedZone.

NFL Sunday Ticket

NFL Sunday Ticket is a premium add-on available to YouTube TV subscribers. It offers access to all out-of-market Sunday afternoon games during the regular season.

NFL Sunday Ticket is also available through YouTube Primetime Channels, but YouTube TV subscribers get a lower price. You can pay for the season in full or four monthly payments.

A 7-day free trial is available, but only to subscribers who choose the single payment option.

YouTube TV offers a discount for those who sign up for NFL Sunday Ticket early. There are also discounts offered later in the season.

The prices shown below are for the full season of NFL Sunday Ticket.

YouTube TV Member PricingYouTube Primetime Channels Pricing
NFL Sunday Ticket:
$349 for the season
4 payments of $87.25/month
NFL Sunday Ticket:
$449 for the season
4 payments of $112.25/month
NFL Sunday Ticket and NFL RedZone:
$389 for the season
4 payments of $97.25/month
NFL Sunday Ticket and NFL RedZone:
$489 for the season
4 payments of $122.25/month

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.

For example, I obtained the Xfinity cable bill shown below with nearly $50 in additional monthly charges.

Xfinity cable bill with equipment and service fees

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. 

YouTube TV regularly offers new customers a discount such as $10 off per month for three months. However, there is no discount if you subscribe to both YouTube TV and YouTube Premium.

YouTube Premium is a separate service that removes the ads from regular YouTube videos.

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.

2. Channel Lineup

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. However, very few regional sports networks are offered.

Here’s a snapshot of the YouTube TV 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 100+ channels where you live, including local stations, go to YouTube TV’s website and enter your ZIP code.

YouTube TV Channels FAQ

Does YouTube TV offer Bally Sports RSNs?

YouTube TV does not carry Bally Sports Regional Sports Networks. You can access these networks with DIRECTV STREAM or Fubo. Bally Sports also has a standalone app called Bally Sports+.

Is History Channel on YouTube TV?

YouTube TV doesn’t carry History Channel or any channels from A&E Networks such as A&E, Lifetime and LMN. These networks are included in Frndly TV’s affordable plans. Some YouTube TV subscribers sign up for Frndly TV to get History Channel and other missing channels owned by A&E Networks.

Does YouTube TV have Tennis Channel?

YouTube TV struck a deal with Sinclair Broadcast Group that returned the Tennis Channel to its lineup as of June 1, 2023. It is available in the Sports Plus add-on package.

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.

YouTube TV’s base plan includes unlimited cloud DVR storage and recordings are saved for up to nine months. The service automatically extends the recording time for live events like sports.

With just a click, YouTube TV lets you 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.

How to Record on YouTube TV

You can add shows, movies, sports teams or events to your library from the home screen or live guide. Simply click on the plus symbol to set a recording.

If you know exactly what you want to record, use the search feature to find it faster.

YouTube TV rolled out a redesigned Library section in April 2024. Category tabs like “New for you” are now at the top of the TV screen. Previously, they were on the left side.

YouTube TV redesigned Library (DVR) section with category tabs along the top of the screen

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.

Many of YouTube TV’s networks make content available on-demand, but those programs typically have ads.

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. 

YouTube TV Live Guide

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. 

This feature alone has kept some sports fans from canceling after the price hike.

While YouTube TV has a lot of features and opportunities for personalization, the service has a habit of announcing product updates and then making users wait months for them.

This has happened with changes to the live guide, library and the rollout of multiview.

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 any three devices using the service at the same time.

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. 

The family manager sets a home area for the service. While family members can stream from different locations, they’ll need to periodically use YouTube TV from the home location.

You can stream YouTube TV while traveling within the United States — not internationally.

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 cable TV 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.

Final Thoughts

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!

Many people seem to agree. YouTube TV was the top-ranked live TV streaming service for customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power’s 2023 rankings.

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 some channels that you never watch.

Many people I’ve talked to stuck 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!

REVIEW METHODOLOGY: When I test a streaming service, I pay for it with my own money and use it for at least 30 days. During that time, I evaluate the service’s content, app performance, features and user experience across multiple compatible devices. This helps me assess the overall value of the service compared to other available streaming options that I’ve tested. None of the content on my website and YouTube channel is sponsored.

More YouTube TV Content You May Like:

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

  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?

    • 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.

  5. 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)?

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

      • Ok I’m confused. How do you split 6 accounts over 3 streams?
        Currently I watch in my Samsung TV, the husband watches on his Fire stick. Does that count as 2 streams? So does that mean I can only watch programming on only one other device?

        • If you are watching on your Samsung and your husband watches on his Fire Stick, that’s 2 of the 3 concurrent streams. You can use on any compatible device — the limit is 3 at a single time. You can get unlimited in-home streams (larger households) with the 4K Plus add-on.

  8. 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

  9. Hello Michael,
    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!

  10. 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
    You’re Watching
    Station name
    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.

  11. 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

  12. 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?

  13. Can two “clickers” be used on one TV? My wife and me currently have two clickers for DirecTV for the main tv.

  14. Does saving programs to the Cloud DVR count as one or more of the 3 live streaming actions? Does playing a program from the Cloud DVR count toward the 3 live streaming actions?

  15. Is there a way to directly go from one channel to another without having to sequentially scroll through channels ? That is one area where cable is superior because you have the ability to directly enter channel numbers.

  16. Hi, how well will youtube TV work with NFL Sunday ticket if I use easy tether to use my phone for my PC for internet? I have very little trouble streaming Netflix and Hulu, but will it be different with live TV streaming?

  17. We have two homes. One in PA and one in NC. we are back and forth but most of the winter months are spend in NC. Can I have one You Tube subsricption and use it in both homes or do I need one for each?

    • You should be OK with one. Just know there are limits to how many times you can change your “home” location. You can still travel with it though — you will just need to check in from your home location every now and then.

  18. We have a home in NC and a vacation home in SC. We would use YTTV primarily in NC. When we are in SC, it typical is for no longer than 8 days at a time. Are you saying we will have no problem using YTTV while we are there?

  19. hi, and i would have thought this was a “silly question” until i researched online and got conflicting reports, lol, so: Can you speed up (to 2x) the vids on youtubetv like you can on youtube itself? thanks for taking the time to answer all our questions!

  20. I currently have you tube tv and have had great success. I recently set my Mom up on you tube tv through refer a friend and after about 14 days she got a message on the screen that said sign up for free trial or member sign in. So, initially I thought it was after the 14 day trial although we set her up as a paying customer and the monthly fee has been deducted from her account. She has since called me back about every 10 days to reset her tv. I was there yesterday evening to reset once again and she is calling me this morning that is asking for sign in. Any suggestions on what to do so that she can get uninterrupted service and I am not running to her house every few days?

  21. How about using this at my restaurant? Might I subscribe to the base plan and feed three of my wall sets? Do they prohibit business use, or is it not monitored?

  22. UTUBE TV is garbage, been a customer for over 3 years, referred my daughter and was suppose to receive $45 for referral, while signing her up I was offered a discount for the first 3 months, took that option and continued . At the very end of the signup it rejected the yahoo email of my daughter so I used a special email and it took it but cancelled my $45 referral and the 3 month discount. Sent an explanation of this and then talked to someone ab what happen. They refused to reinstate my fees but they sure as hell took the new customer. As a result I’m in the process of what new streaming app I will changing too along with my daughter subscription !!! I would not recommend this app to anyone !!!!

  23. I tried to sign-up with youtube-tv, but when I attempted to sign-up, they wanted to have my Google Account name and password. Why? Must I have a Google Account to use youtube-tv on my TV? I could never get past this roadblock? Thank you for your best advice !

  24. I signed up for YouTube TV. After several months I could not access it. Paused for two months and reviewed websites and watched videos. Then after 2 months billing resumed and I was billed $82.99. Still couldn’t figure it out. Cancelled it and asked if they would refund me since I never could access. Looks like some streaming services automatically cancel after 30 days if you can’t/or don’t access it. Would be nice if YouTube TV did that. Waste of many months of paying and getting absolutely nothing.

  25. Thanks for sharing this detailed review of YouTube TV! As someone who’s been considering switching from traditional cable, this information was super helpful in making my decision. I particularly appreciated the portion on pricing and the various add-ons available. Looks like YouTube TV is definitely worth checking out!


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