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youtube tv review

YouTube TV Review – Is Ad-free Worth It?

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With YouTube venturing into the video streaming landscape, the battle for superiority has never been this fierce. While some video streaming services offer original and on-demand content, others are gearing up to replace your cable subscription. And guess what, that is what YouTube TV is doing. With over 70 channels, including sports, entertainment, and news channels available to stream in one package, you’ll never regret cutting the cord.

Besides its impressive channel offerings, YouTube TV boast of excellent DVR functionalities while providing support for tons of platforms. Although their pricing has seen a significant hike over time, YouTube TV is still reasonably cheaper than most Live TV options on the market.

What is YouTube TV channel lineups?

Like we mentioned earlier, YouTube TV has a pretty decent channel lineup. With over 70 channels up for watch, YouTube TV stacks up pretty well against the competition. Without mincing words, YouTube TV boast of having the most robust channel offerings of all the streaming services we have reviewed.

Local channels

YouTube TV has an impressive collection of local channels. So for fans of major Networks like Fox, ABC, NBC, and CBS, you can now stay up to date with your favorite programming on major networks. Not just that, YouTube TV also features a couple of news channels, including BBC America, Fox News, ABC, MSNBC, CNN, and CNBC.

Thanks to these incredible news channels, staying up to date with breaking news and happenings around the world has never been easier.

Exciting sports channels

YouTube TV doesn’t disappoint when it comes to sports channels; little wonder why they have become a lot of fans favorites. With awesome sports channels like ESPN, CBS Sports, NBA TV, NBC Sports, and ESPN 2 making it to their channel list, you’re never going to miss watching your favorite team play.

Although YouTube TV briefly lost some of its Fox regional sports networks, we are happy to let you know that based on a new deal, the majority of those channels have now been restored. And even though they are missing top sports channels like Yes, Fox Sports West and Fox Sports Prime Ticket, we doubt you’ll miss much as they feature other quality sports channels with content you’ll love.

Entertainment powerhouse

YouTube TV isn’t only famous for news and sports content. With YouTube TV, you’ll enjoy entertainment and lifestyle content like never before. Featuring top entertainment channels like National Geographic, USA, Cartoon Network, AMC, TNT, and FX, you’ll be spoilt for choice when surfing through YouTube TV’s entertainment catalog.

The juicy part is that YouTube TV also delivers access to the discovery network. Meaning your YouTube TV subscription will grant you access to Discovery Channel, TLC, Travel Channel, Animal Planet, Food Network, and HGTV. On top of that, YouTube TV offers access to local PBS channels, which isn’t something you’ll get on other major live TV services.

Thanks to their recent deal with ViaconCBS, YouTube TV subscribers can now explore 14 extra channels, including TV Land, CMT, BET, Comedy Central, BET Her, MTV Classics, NickToons, Teen Nick and more.

How YouTube TV channel lineup compares to others

YouTube TV offers an exciting content mix that is somewhat similar to what you’ll get on Hulu with Live TV, especially as both platforms offer impressive collections of on-demand shows and movies. Although Hulu with Live TV boast of having a more extensive on-demand library, YouTube TV channel lineup is pretty decent too and features lots of fantastic programming you’ll love.

Elsewhere, AT&T TV Now’s channel lineup comes quite close to what you’ll get on YouTube TV. However, they split their channel offerings across multiple tiers of service.

Other live TV streaming services offer a unique range of content that has made them a powerhouse in the streaming industry. For instance, when it comes to sports content, fuboTV is way ahead of YouTube TV. While fuboTV matches YouTube TV sports contents, YouTube TV doesn’t measure up when it comes to international sports content.

For lifestyle content lovers, you’ll find Philo TV exciting as they feature lifestyle and entertainment content you’ll not see on other live TV streaming platforms. So if entertainment is all you want to watch, Philo TV will not let you down.

YouTube TV pricing and plans

YouTube TV is one of the most affordable Live TV services out there. With price pegged at $49.99 per month, YouTube TV subscribers will enjoy a fantastic experience. More so, with Hulu Live TV seeing price hiked to $54.99, YouTube TV has now become the go-to option for people looking for an affordable Live TV service.

But if you’re looking to keep costs down, you won’t go wrong to give Philo TV a try. As things stand, Philo TV only charges $20 per month and offers over 58 live channels you can stream on the go. While they are more entertainment-focused, they have lots of entertainment and lifestyle content that will tickle your fancy.

For a completely free video streaming service, you’ll want to checkout Pluto TV. Although they are missing many traditional channels, it is cool to know that you can watch some top TV channels for free.

There are other expensive options on the market. The likes of AT&T TV Now and fuboTV start at $55 per month. But If you want an option that is reasonably priced, you’ll want to consider on-demand services as they are much cheaper.

Although they appeal to a unique subset of subscribers, its exciting to know that you can enjoy on-demand services for way less, Netflix, for instance, costs only $8.99 per month, while Disney+ starts at $6.99 per month.

is youtube tv worth it

Compatible devices

YouTube TV works seamlessly on a variety of platforms, including iOS, Android as well as browsers. Not just that, YouTube TV is also compatible with Apple TVs, Roku devices, Smart TVs, PlayStation 4, Fire TVs, Xbox One, and more. What we particularly like about YouTube TV is that users are allowed to set up six different user accounts. However, YouTube TV sets a limit for three simultaneous users, which is commonly what you get with other streaming services.

Extra charges

Just like other streaming services, Youtube TV offers additional subscriptions; their users can jump on to improve their experience. Here, check out some of their exciting add-ons along with pricing;

  • AMC Premium, $5 per month
  • Showtime, $7 per month
  • NBA League Pass, $40 per month
  • Stars, $9 per month

These add-ons will dramatically improve your TV experience, especially for people who are interested in getting more from their subscription. The not so cool part is that YouTube TV doesn’t include HBO add-on in the mix, so if this is an issue, we suggest you consider other video streaming services.

Sleek web interface

YouTube TV features a sleek and unique interface that is quite similar to its YouTube website. The design looks spot on, clean with the majority of the elements highlighted in white and light grey. And because they care very much about the health of your eyes, they included a dark mode; you can easily activate by navigating to settings.

Just at the upper right-hand corner of your screen, you’ll find a robust search tool that lets you easily search for content to watch from dozens of channels and genres. This is particularly helpful because YouTube TV has an extensive channel catalog. To perform search operations, simply type in your keywords using their search bar, and you’ll receive tons of results related to your keyword.

To seamlessly manage your subscription, edit billing information, and subscription to add-on channels, simply navigate to the settings panel, and you’ll be able to do all of these. Another thing we love is that YouTube TV lets you manage preferences while setting up a family account.

Making customization on YouTube TV is a stroll in the park, simply navigate to the settings panel, and you can customize what appears in the channel guide as well as watch and search history.

YouTube TV’s home page features three top-level tabs, which include Home, Live, and Library. The Library tab lets you keep things clean and tidy by organizing everything you have recorded into three sections: New content, All Recordings, and Scheduled Recordings.

Similarly, their home page is where you’ll find and explore content to watch. Just at the top, you’ll find recommended content, which is YouTube’s way of showing you content based on things you have watched or recently searched. As you navigate down the page, you’ll find various content categories that essentially make up their horizontally scrolling list.

The web interface also features a Live section, this page provides access to available channels, and you can know what is currently playing. Remember, there is an option that lets you exclude channels you don’t want to watch, simply navigate to the settings menu to tweak this. To begin streaming, all you have to do is click on the live preview button and watch the magic unfold.

Just like other streaming platforms, Youtube TV has a Now Playing screen. This screen features a standard set of playback tools as well as the 15 seconds forward and rewind buttons located on the right.

There are options on the left that lets you choose stream quality, playback speed, select an audio track, and toggle closed captioning. To get more information regarding a title you’re streaming, simply tap the information button, and you’re good to go.

For instance, while streaming an NBA game, we clicked the information button, and we were presented with information on the starting line up and team standings. The best part about their web interface is that you can seamlessly switch between their three main content tab.

Youtube TV Mobile Apps

The YouTube TV mobile app is designed to deliver a remarkable experience when streaming your favorite movie or TV shows. We downloaded and tested the YouTube TV mobile app for Android, and we experienced no trouble at all. It was easy to use, plus we had no trouble signing in.

The YouTube TV mobile app looks pretty similar to the desktop web interface. And just like the web interface, the YouTube TV mobile app interface is clean and features attractive colors and unique tabs that separate contents. Regrettably, the dark mode, which is present on the web interface, didn’t make it to the mobile app, but we hope this is fixed in future updates. That said, the YouTube TV mobile app features all of the excellent search and library organization tools on their web interface.

Similar to its web interface, the YouTube TV mobile app has the exact three tabs you’ll see on their web interface: Live, Home, and Library. And thanks to its intuitive Now Playing screen, you can activate close captioning, toggle notifications for different programs and change streaming quality. Amazingly, the app also lets you explore programs that are set to air as well as surfing through recommended content.

We streamed Youtube TV via the app, and we were able to enjoy the picture-in-picture (PIP) mode, which is basically designed to let you keep watching your favorite shows or movies without needing to stay in the app. More interestingly, the minimized window can be dragged to any part of your device’s screen.

youtube tv app review

Streaming YouTube TV

We explored YouTube TV’s streaming performance on Android while streaming a Thursday night NFL game, and we can tell you that we weren’t disappointed. The streaming performance was pretty solid, and we didn’t experience any glitch. We streamed using a home network with a 200Mbps download speeds, and we did not experience any performance lags or stutters. More so the audio quality was top notch and was in sync with the content we were streaming. We further went on to stream MSNBC News show on a different device, and the performance didn’t drop.

That said, have it at the back of your mind that streaming resolutions will change based on the source. For instance, since we were streaming the NFL game on Fox Sports, the resolution was limited to 720p and 60fps. Nevertheless, this did not affect the picture quality as everything still looked sharp. Notably, YouTube TV is one of the only live TV streaming services that let you stream any channel in 1080p.

And because YouTube TV has been tagged a cable replacement TV, you’ll not be surprised to see the same commercials you’d regularly see while watching cable. Where youTube outshines the competition is with their DVR offerings. With the YouTube DVR, you can fast forward through ads in your recordings.

YouTube TV and DVR functionality

YouTube TV’s DVR can go head to head with other DVR on the market. And if you carefully explore its performance, you’ll discover that only a few DVR comes close to it. What excites us about the YouTube TV DVR is that there is no DVR storage limit, meaning you can store as much show as you like. And so long you have a reliable internet connection, you can keep adding movies and shows to your library as you desire.

Thanks to its sophisticated DVR, users can now save recordings for up to nine months. If this doesn’t impress you, then nothing else would. One drawback, however, is that users can’t download recordings for offline streaming. This can be quite annoying, especially for people who are on a restrictive data plan or for people with long commutes. However, if YouTube TV can do something about this, we are sure they will instantly win the hearts of live TV lovers.

For comparison, we like to think that the YouTube TV DVR beats other DVR on the market hands down. The fuboTV base plan, for instance, lets users record only 30 hours of content. While it is lagging in terms of storage space, where it stands out is that it lets you store recordings indefinitely, which isn’t something you typically see with other DVR. Sling TV, on the other hand, also has a decent DVR; however, they charge users extra fees for DVR functionality.

Initiating DVR recordings on YouTube TV is easy. Simply hit the + button underneath any show you are streaming or from the channel guide, and you’re good to go. Similarly, deleting content from your library is easy. All you have to do is hit the expand button, followed by the remove button; it’s that easy.

One feature we have come to love about this DVR is that you can set up DVR recording for unique sporting events or sports teams. For instance, when we tap on the expand button on an NBA game, it gave us an option to add both teams to our library. With this activated, YouTube TV will always record upcoming games by those teams whenever they air.

YouTube TV and close captioning

YouTube TV took closed captioning to new heights. As a matter of fact, all the channels we streamed had options for closed captioning. While this is something you see on other streaming platforms, the accuracy you get on YouTube TV is next to none. Although it’s closed captioning lagged a little behind the video stream we tested, the subtitles seemed very accurate.

More so, YouTube TV includes exciting options that let you customize subtitle text. From background to color to text to font color and more, there are lots of options you can explore to tweak subtitle text on YouTube TV. What it is currently missing is that no option lets you change the text position. Hopefully, this will be fixed in future updates.

Another thing you’ll not find on YouTube TV is Amazon-style audio-based description. When this feature is activated on Prime Video, actions and scenes on screen are followed by a unique description of audible and visual events.

YouTube TV also lets you set up filters for showing only G & PG films, TV-Y, TV-G shows, and TV-Y7. However, you’ll need to enable this preference for every device as it doesn’t work based on profile options. The likes of Sling TV allow users to restrict content based on movie ratings and individual shows. Also, you can lock this setting with a code, this way only you can tweak it.

What internet speed do you need to stream YouTube TV?

Streaming YouTube TV requires a decent internet connection speed. And to ensure you don’t experience any interruption while streaming your favorite movie or show, always double-check to confirm you’re connected to the internet. For optimal performance, YouTube TV requires a decent internet connection with at least 3 Mbps. To stream one HD video, you’ll need an internet speed of 7 Mbps.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • YouTube TV features an impressive line up of shows, movies, sports, entertainment, and news channels.
  • Powerful DVR with unparallel performance
  • Intuitive interface both for web and mobile

Cons

  • Features pretty basic parental features
  • Missing a couple of important sports channels

channel line up for youtube tv

Frequently asked questions

Does YouTube TV have a guide?

While YouTube TV offers 70 impressive channels in their catalog, they didn’t put these channels in any kind of order. Thankfully, Youtube TV lets you customize the guide via their website or mobile apps.

What channels do you get on YouTube TV?

YouTube TV features a fantastic channel lineup, including FX, Bravo, and USA. They also feature a wide variety of news networks, including Fox News, BBC World News, MSNBC, and CNBC. On top of that, they offer exclusive access to CNN, TNT, Cartoon Network, Turner Classic Movies, and truTV.

Does YouTube TV have add-ons?

In addition to its $49.99 per month plan, YouTube TV offers several add-ons you can add to your subscription. From premium networks to Fox Soccer Plus to Showtime, there is so much waiting for you when you give YouTube TV a try.

In a nutshell

If you’re looking to kiss goodbye to cable subscription forever, then YouTube TV will make a fantastic choice. With its impressive channel lineup that cuts across entertainment, news, sports, and lifestyle, we doubt you’ll ever run out of content to watch. And besides its incredible channel lineup, YouTube TV also has one of the best DVR.

Overall, YouTube TV is a top choice for cord-cutters who want to relish the cable experience.

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