YouTube TV Review

9

Great

Price 9 out of 10

Interface 7.5 out of 10

Compatibility 9.2 out of 10

New Shows 8 out of 10

YouTube TV is a streaming service which uses the well-known brand name to branch out and provide an additional offering for customers. To be precise, those who subscribe to YouTube TV will gain access to over 70 channels of entertainment, sports and news. New channels are being added all the time, such as Discovery channels, meaning that if you want a range of content to enjoy or an entertainment package which suits the whole family, YouTube TV is a good way to go. You can set up six different user accounts, with three able to be active at any one time.

YouTube TV first began in April 2017, streaming to New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia. The service provided subscribers with access to YouTube Premium original movies and shows. Initially, core channels such as CNBC, Fox News, The Smithsonian Channel and a number of sports channels were included. 2018 saw YouTube TV introduce networks from Turner Broadcasting System, including CNN, Cartoon Network, TNT and TBS. 98% of US households were covered by YouTube TV by April 2019.

The service only continues to expand. For example, the platform reached an agreement with ViacomCBS where they would be able to add 14 new channels to its portfolio. Furthermore, WarnerMedia has agreed to allow YouTube TV to carry HBO, Cinemax and HBO Max as streaming service add-ons.

Pros and Cons

Pros

No storage limit on DVR. Just an internet connection is required for a user to add as many shows and movies to their library as they want.

Set up recordings for certain teams. Use the DVR feature for sports fixtures. Clicking on a match which is playing using the Expand button would give you the option to add both teams to your library. From here, YouTube TV can record further matches from these teams as they take place.

60 FPS support. YouTube TV offers 60 fps support for all channels in its provisions, with the exception of CNBC and some local CBS affiliates. 60 fps streaming is available for all media players except certain smart TVs.

Cons

Fox networks are not available for everyone. A new deal after YouTube TV lost the regional sports networks has resulted in only restoring most of them. Fox Sports Prime Ticket, Fox Sports West and YES are not available.

Doesn’t provide good value for entertainment and lifestyle. Those who mainly watch these types of shows may save money by subscribing to a service like Philo instead.

Expensive. When comparing YouTube TV with Philo and Sling TV, its $49.99 price tag does not look good next to Sling Orange/Blue at $30 and Philo at $20.

Genres and channels

As mentioned, there are over 70 channels on offer with a subscription to YouTube TV, which is highly competitive compared to other contenders in the streaming services market. If you want to watch the news, there’s CBS, CNN, NBC, ABC, CNBC and BBC America. Sports fans can get stuck into a variety of choices, such as NBC Sports, CBS Sports, ESPN, MLB Network, NBA TV and FN1.

If entertainment and lifestyle channels are more your thing, there are options for you. There’s USA, TNT, National Geographic, The CW, FX, AMC and Cartoon Network. Thanks to additions from the Discovery Network, YouTube TV subscribers can also enjoy Food Network, Travel Channel, TLC, HGTV, Discovery Channel and Animal Planet.

Top YouTube TV shows and movies

The Masked Singer – You’ll find Nicole Scherzinger, Robin Thicke, Ken Jeong and Jenny McCarthy on the panel of this show, which sees celebrities face off against each other while wearing elaborate costumes.

The Voice – A singing reality competition series which airs on NBC, focused on finding unsigned singing talent and beginning with the famous Blind Auditions.

Young Sheldon – Focuses on Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, who has skipped four grades aged 9 in 1989 to begin high school.

Slow Burn – A podcast which focuses on big issues such as the Watergate scandal and Bill Clinton’s impeachment. Season three moves on to Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. ‘s murders.

Brain Games – A series which shows people how the brain processes information such as stress, food, trust, addiction and competition. The series, hosted by Jason Silva, has been nominated for an Emmy.

Party of Five – A drama with six seasons which focuses on the lives of five siblings who must live on their own after their parents die in a car crash.

The Walking Dead – A post-apocalyptic horror show which shows how people survive after a zombie apocalypse.

Grey’s Anatomy – A group of young doctors at Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital live their lives while working at the medical location they began at as interns.

Rick and Morty – Rick returns to his daughter and her kids after being missing for a long time, but he takes Morty and Summer on intergalactic adventures on a regular basis.

Chopped – With over 45 seasons, this cooking series focuses on four chefs who go up against each other to create a fantastic three course meal using whatever they are given.

Streaming library

Users will find the interface of YouTube TV easy to navigate, as it’s very similar to the one which features on the original YouTube website. The design is minimalistic, with a color scheme of white and light gray. It’s possible to enable a dark mode within the settings, which is better for night time viewing or enhancing the overall experience. In the top right hand corner, there is a search tool for finding the exact genre or channel you need. Going into the settings panel enables you to manage the details of your subscription, edit your billing information and customise your subscriptions to any add-on channels. Furthermore, you can set up family accounts, change what shows up in the channel guide and control your watch and search history.

There are three main tabs in the interface – Home, Live and Library. In the Home section, you can find new content to watch. The top of the page shows content YouTube TV thinks you’ll enjoy based on your watch history and viewing preferences. Moving down the page will unveil further content categories, which you can scroll across horizontally. With the Live section, there is a list of available channels to browse and explore what’s currently playing. If there are channels you don’t want to see in this menu, you can exclude them within the settings menu. Watching something from this view is simple, as all you have to do is click on the live preview. Finally, the Library section shows all the content you’ve recorded. This is organized into sections such as new content, scheduled recordings and all recordings. Filters are available to sort the final section according to alphabetical order, popularity, date and content type – in other words, whether the content is movies, sports, shows or events.

When you’re watching content with YouTube TV, you’ll find there’s plenty to explore with the Now Playing screen. There will, of course, be the usual set of tools for playback, and you can fast forward fifteen seconds or reverse. The left hand side shows options for toggling closed captioning, changing the streaming quality, adjusting the playback speed and picking an audio track. If you want more information on what you’re watching, clicking on the information button will provide you with further details.

Streaming quality

YouTube TV supports HD resolution, with 1080p at 30fps and 720p at 60fps. Not all channels provide this quality, and it has been a common objection for subscribers to this service. However, many have commented online from March 2020 that picture quality has improved overall with 4K devices, so it looks like the resolution is being worked on.

Customer support

The support page for YouTube TV is found via its parent company, Google. Navigating to the Google Support page under YouTube TV will provide users with a searchable database of the most commonly asked questions.

Topics available underneath the search bar include YouTube TV sign-up and basics, Using YouTube TV, Watch on your TV, Billing, Manage your account and Fix a problem.

The next step for users is to directly contact YouTube TV, and this is an option at the bottom of the page. The process is to describe what you need help with in the text box provided, then confirm the issue based on the categories available. After providing issue details, the most relevant chat options are highlighted. These could be a call, online chat or email, which opens up a web form to fill in. The opening hours for live customer support are 12am-11:59pm.

Free trial

There is often a free trial available with YouTube TV. It has typically been for seven days, although sometimes you can take advantage of a promotion which lets you browse the full content library for 14 days free of charge.

Cancelling before the expiry of the free trial means you won’t have to pay a dime. However, not taking any action means the next billing cycle will begin and you will be charged for a standard monthly subscription.

Plans and pricing

YouTube TV is available for a standard price of $49.99 a month. This means over 70 channels are included for this regular price, and the service comes without any hidden fees, cable box or contracts.

Users can enjoy content from ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, ABC News, ACCN, AMC, Adult Swim, Animal Planet, BBC, BBC World News, BTN, Bravo, CBS Sports, CNBC, CNBC World, CNN, Cartoon Network, Cheddar Business, Cheddar News, Comet TV, Court TV, Cozi TV, Discovery, Disney, Disney Junior, Disney XD, E!, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN U, ESPNEWS, Fox Business, Fox News Channel, FS1, FS2, FX, FXM, FXX, Food Network, Fox Sports, Freeform, Golf Channel, HGTV, HLN, IFC, Investigation Discovery, LAFC, MLB Game of the Week, MLB Network, MSNBC, Motortrend, MyNetworkTV, NBA TV, NBC Sports, NBC Universe, NBCSN, NECN, NESN, NatGeo Wild, National Geographic, Olympics Channel, Newsy, OWN, Oxygen, PBS, PBS Kids, POP, SEC ESPN Network, SNY, Smithsonian Channel, StartTV, SundanceTV, SyFy, TBS, TCM, TLC, TNT, TYT, Tastemade, Telemundo, Tennis Channel, The CW, Travel Channel, TruTV, USA, Universal Kids, WE TV and YouTube Originals.

Additional networks are Acorn TV, AMC Premiere, Cinemax, CuriosityStream, EPIX, Fox Soccer Plus, HBO, HBO Max, NBA League Pass, Showtime, Shudder, Starz, Sundance Now and UMC.

Competitors

When comparing the variety of content available with YouTube TV, the service is most comparable with Sling’s combined plan and Hulu with Live TV. While it’s also similar to DirecTV Now and PlayStation Vue, these providers split their channels across different plans, while YouTube TV offers an all-inclusive and comprehensive plan to meet a range of needs.

Critics state that, when it comes to live channel services, other providers could offer better content for specialist areas. For example, Philo offers additional entertainment channels such as Comedy Central, Hallmark and BET, while fuboTV offers the same sports channels as YouTube TV, with the addition of international sports content.

When it comes to pricing, the increase since the original cost of $40 to $49.99 may put off some users, and this is more than you’d pay for several competitors. Sling TV’s most similar plan is $40 a month, and Philo is only $16 a month for 43 live channels. Likewise, Hulu with Live TV and PlayStation Vue cost $44.99 per month. That being said, some other competitors either cost the same as YouTube TV or require users to pay more. For example, DirecTV Now is an identical cost with subscriptions costing $50 a month, and fuboTV is slightly more expensive at $54.99 per month.

Is YouTube TV worth it?

YouTube TV is a service provided by a well-known brand, meaning that people will already trust the content delivery and recognise the household name. The service does not disappoint, with a huge range of channels at competitive prices. A smooth and sleek interface eases navigation, and the highly customisable settings make for a more enjoyable experience. Two big bonuses with YouTube TV are the unlimited DVR capacity and the availability of 60 fps streaming for the majority of channels within the plan. Overall, YouTube has come up with a strong and competitive TV package for the streaming services market.

FAQ

How to cancel my YouTube TV subscription
  1. Navigate to the YouTube TV website.
  2. Click on Settings.
  3. Click on Membership.
  4. Click on Pause or cancel membership.
  5. Click on Cancel membership.
How to login to my YouTube TV account

  1. Navigate to the YouTube TV site.
  2. Click on Sign In.
  3. Choose a Google account to sign in with.
  4. Enter your password.
  5. Start streaming!
How to delete my watch history on YouTube TV
  1. Click onto the YouTube TV website.
  2. Sign into your account.
  3. Click on your profile picture.
  4. Click onto your account settings.
  5. Click on Privacy.
  6. Click on Manage watch history.
  7. Delete items you wish to remove by selecting More.
How to restart my YouTube TV subscription later


It is simple for any cord cutter to cancel their streaming subscription and return to it later. All they have to do is cancel their billing cycle and return to the same account when they would like to restart a subscription. By signing in with the same Google account and signing up for YouTube TV again, the service will be reinstated.

How to get a refund on YouTube TV?

If you cancelled your free trial before it expired, but you were charged anyway, you can contact customer service to explain your situation and request a refund. There will not be refunds issued for those who have their account charged for a new billing cycle, but want to cancel. The best option in this situation is to cancel your subscription, and you will then be safe in the knowledge that you will not be charged again when the next billing period comes around.

Are there any good alternatives to YouTube TV?

Many people enjoy using YouTube TV, as it provides enviable features such as unlimited DVR and a thorough range of all channel genres, from entertainment to sports. However, some subscriptions may provide better options for cord cutters. For example, Philo will provide a better range of entertainment and lifestyle channels, while Sling TV offers a cheaper and more customisable package. While Hulu Live TV is a little more expensive, it includes access to the full on-demand library, including a number of exclusive originals.

Can I use my YouTube TV account in another country?

Those residing in the US will be able to view local networks for YouTube TV. Travelling within the US may result in some variations in terms of coverage. International travel will mean that subscribers cannot access YouTube TV content until they return to the US.

How to sign up to YouTube TV
  1. Click onto the YouTube TV site.
  2. Click on Try it free.
  3. Choose a Google account to use.
  4. Click on Start Free Trial.
  5. Start streaming!

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