YouTube TV review

YouTube TV highlights

YouTube TV review

When YouTube launched YouTube TV as its live TV and movie streaming service in 2017, it was only available to limited locations in the U.S. Today, the service is now available to viewers nationwide and has grown to become one of the leading live TV streaming services on the market. Just this year, YouTube TV reported more than 2 million members in the U.S.

So how does YouTube TV work? Through the familiar clean YouTube interface, YouTube TV offers live TV from a channel selection that includes a variety of cable staples and coverage of major networks like ABC, NBC and CBS. Subscribers can also watch sports, movies and YouTube Originals on their own schedule thanks to unlimited hours of Cloud DVR storage. For the TV fans who aren’t satisfied with the base plan channel offerings, premium add-ons are available individually. 

Although the $64.99/mo. subscription is higher than that of other streaming services due to a recent price hike, you’ll get your money’s worth considering the number of channels, unlimited DVR space and many more competitive features.

Why YouTube TV may be the right TV and streaming service for you

If you’re looking for an easy way to watch and record live TV, look no further. Of all the different perks offered by YouTube TV, its cloud DVR might be the best. While most live TV streaming service providers have DVR capability, they don’t provide the same storage capacity. With YouTube TV, you can record unlimited content and store it for up to nine months. You can essentially line up as much content as you want and never have to worry about storage. This tops any other competitor’s DVR feature by a long shot.

YouTube TV also lets viewers watch on multiple screens at once. Out of the six family accounts, three can use the service at the same time on different devices.

Compare YouTube TV plans and pricing

Currently, YouTube TV only offers one plan, unlike many live streaming service competitors like Sling TV and Hulu + Live TV, which both offer several tiers of packages. 

The YouTube TV plan offers 85+ channels and three screens for $64.99/mo.—minus the dreaded hidden fees and installation costs of cable. In comparison, the base offering from Hulu with Live TV is $54.99/mo. for 65+ channels on two screens and Sling Orange is $30/mo. for 32 channels and three screens.

See more: YouTube TV vs. Hulu + Live TV

Though Hulu + Live TV comes with a more robust streaming library, the YouTube TV channel list is more extensive. Additionally, even though YouTube TV charges a higher monthly price up front, its offerings are more complete than the basic Sling plan, which could round out to be more expensive after you’ve added on all the channels you need. 

See more: YouTube TV vs. Sling TV

Here’s the breakdown of what YouTube TV has to offer:

YouTube TV
Monthly price$64.99
Free trial length7 days
Number of channels85+
Number of simultaneous streams3
Cloud DVR storageUnlimited
Premium channel add-ons availableYes

Read more in-depth information about the YouTube TV packages, pricing and free trial information to find out if it’s the best live TV plan for you.

YouTube TV bundles, deals and free trials

Unfortunately, YouTube TV doesn’t cut new customers any bundles or deals, but if you’re signing up for the first time, you can see if YouTube TV lives up to the hype with a 7-day free trial.

Try YouTube TV for seven days, free.

Not ready to commit to a subscription? Sign up for a 7-day free trial to try out what the service has to offer. If you decide YouTube TV isn’t for you, you can cancel anytime.

Device compatibility.

YouTube TV is available on the major home streaming devices and platforms, so you don’t have to worry about having to add to your existing set-up. You can also watch YouTube TV on your smartphone and tablet through the mobile app or in a web browser on your computer. 

Here are some of the devices YouTube TV is compatible with:

For more information, visit our YouTube TV device guide.

YouTube TV features

No contract

You’ll never have to commit to a long-term contract. Pay month-to-month and can cancel your subscription at any time.

Record your favorite content with unlimited hours of DVR storage

The YouTube TV DVR feature really goes above and beyond, offering unlimited storage for recorded content. You can record shows and other programs to watch on your own schedule, without worrying about storage limits. The only other service that offers unlimited DVR storage is Philo, but subscribers only have a 30-day window to watch saved shows. In comparison, YouTube TV allows users to store their recorded shows for up to nine months.

See related: Philo vs. YouTube TV

On-demand streaming

While live TV is certainly the main offering of YouTube TV, the service also has an on-demand library of recently-aired episodes. This, combined with live TV and a DVR feature, means that there’s ALWAYS something to watch. 

The one downside to YouTube TV on-demand streaming is that you can’t skip regular ads when you’re watching content from the on-demand library. However, when you’re watching TV you’ve recorded, you can typically fast-forward through the ads.

At home or on-the-go

Whether you’re at home on the couch or on the bus ride home, you can watch YouTube TV on the mobile app. On mobile devices and desktops, the YouTube app supports picture-in-picture mode, which lets you keep watching content without staying in the app. Do keep in mind that the programming available to you will vary while you’re traveling, and YouTube TV doesn’t work internationally.

Accounts for the whole family

With a single YouTube TV subscription, you can get up to six individual accounts and logins, each with their own DVR feature and library. This is limited to in-household, so you can’t share with friends who don’t live with you – but for family members and roommates, this feature offers a lot of value. If you read YouTube TV reviews from everyday customers, this feature often comes up as a main selling point.

Three consecutive streams

If you do share your subscription, don’t worry about getting cut off from watching your show. With three consecutive streams, everyone can watch what they want without having to negotiate schedule.

What to watch on YouTube TV

Live TV channels

YouTube TV has lots of live channels, and that count keeps growing. Subscribers have access to every channel that falls under these networks: ESPN, FOX Sports, Disney, FX, Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC and CNS, just to name a few. Browse the full YouTube TV channel list to see what’s available. Watch your favorites live or on-demand.

Like Amazon video, you can pay an extra monthly price to add premium channels to your subscription, such as Cinemax, Starz and Showtime. Most recently, YouTube TV has partnered with WarnerMedia to make HBO Max available as a premium add-on to subscribers.

Original content

In addition to popular channel networks, you can watch every show in YouTube’s network and exclusive films through YouTube Red and Originals. Examples include PewDiePie, Hyperlinked and Celebrity Substitute. Visit our guide to the best YouTube TV movies and shows for more recommendations.

Our hot take

If you consider yourself a part of the “cord-cutting” movement and want to make the transition from cable to digital, then YouTube TV could be the right streaming service for you. All you need is an internet connection and a supported device to start watching.

Bottom line, if you prefer a large channel selection and record a ton of content, no other service can do it like YouTube TV.  It dominates the cloud DVR competition and does an excellent job of letting you stream and record your favorite picks. 

Margaret Manning