YouTube TV Review

9.7

Good

Price 9 out of 10

User Experience 7.5 out of 10

Compatibility 9.2 out of 10

New Shows 8 out of 10

When the cord cutting trend began, it meant living with on-demand options: cable and satellite were still pretty much your only legal paths to live TV. The rise of the skinny bundle has changed that, and has sparked a gold rush in a business space that didn’t exist just a few years ago.

The latest skinny bundle on the scene is YouTube TV. How does it measure up? Here’s our complete YouTube TV review, including everything you need to know about the channels it offers, the features that set it apart, and the price you’ll pay if you sign up – plus, of course, my advice on whether or not you should!

Overview

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.

Those wanting to use YouTube TV on their tablet, phone or TV will find it’s compatible with many devices. These include Android and iOS phones, Android TVs, Smart TVs, Apple TVs, Xbox One and Roku. Furthermore, you can set up six different user accounts, with three able to be active at any one time.

Content available with YouTube TV

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.

Competition

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. 

Site navigation

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. 

YouTube TV DVR

The DVR feature is considered by many subscribers to be the best part of the Youtube TV service. There is no storage limit, meaning that just an internet connection is required for a user to add as many shows and movies to their library as they want. Recordings are saved for nine months, but can’t be downloaded for offline viewing. To start recording with the DVR functionality, all you have to do is hit the + button, which is located beneath any show playing or in the channel guide. If you want to remove content from the library, click on the Expand button, followed by Remove. One aspect of the DVR feature which will benefit sports fans is the ability to set up DVR recordings for certain teams. For example, 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 channels on YouTube TV 

Many live TV streaming services have made an improvement to their offering by ensuring their streams have an upgraded 60 fps. When this first rolled out, channels were largely broadcasting using 30 fps. The benefits of a higher frame rate include smoothing out the image and improving the quality of high action streams. It may not be noticeable with content such as entertainment and lifestyle series, but when it comes to live sports and movies, this upgrade is worth it. Fortunately, 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. 

Summary

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.

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