YouTube TV Review - Live TV Streaming Service

YouTube TV

YouTube TV is a live TV streaming service with more than 50 channels for $40/month. This plan includes local channels, 18 of the top 35 cable channels, and regional sports networks (RSNs).

YouTube TV is currently available in almost 100 cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.

$40 YouTube TV

  • 50 Channels
  • Local Channels
  • 18 of Top 35 Cable Channels
  • Sports Channels
    • Major Channels: 7
    • Includes RSNs
    • Pro Channels: 2
    • College Networks: 5

Need A&E, AMC, BET, Discovery, Comedy Central, HGTV, or MTV?

Philo

Unfortunately, YouTube TV doesn’t offer A&E, AMC, BET, Comedy Central, Discovery, HGTV, MTV, Nickelodeon, & VH1. You can subscribe to Philo for only $16 to get access to those channels.

 

Features

Cloud DVR

Unlimited

9 months

3 Device Streams

Watch on up to 3 devices at the same time.

On Demand

Most channels have on demand content.

TV Everywhere Apps

App logins provided for up to 34 apps.

- No Parental Controls

Does not have any parental controls.

Tech Specs

HD Video

720p
30 fps / 60 fps
Stereo

Streaming Reliability

Great

On Demand Reliability

Great

Live Delay

25 seconds

Channel Switching

1.5 seconds

Optional Add-Ons

Showtime

$11

Fox Soccer Plus

$15

Sundance Now

$7

Shudder

$5

7-Day Free Trial

YouTube TV offers a 7-day free trial. Your subscription is month-to-month and you can cancel at any time.

Review

We tested YouTube TV and five other live TV streaming services for more than 100 hours. YouTube TV is compatible with Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku TV devices; Android, iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch mobile devices; and computer browsers. It does not work on Amazon Fire TV.

User Experience

  • Video player will feel very familiar to YouTube users.
  • There is a standard channel guide with live previews, so you can see what’s playing before selecting a channel.
  • Search is excellent and includes related YouTube clips.

Home Screen

The smartphones and tablets, the YouTube TV app’s home screen has a live preview of shows currently on live TV. The home screen also has a list of recently viewed shows and recorded DVR content.

As you scroll, the app suggests popular movies and TV shows, YouTube Red Originals, and trending YouTube clips.

TV Guide

The YouTube TV channel guide lists available channels in a vertically scrolling list, with a live preview of what’s currently airing. When your device is in a landscape orientation, the guide will also show what is scheduled to air next.

Search

As you would likely expect, YouTube TV has excellent search capabilities. The search tab suggests genres, channels, and trending shows before you begin searching.

As you type to search, the results area will suggest shows, channels, people, and sports teams. When you tap on a result, the app shows episodes and related and related clips.

Show Details

The show listing page is very clean, making it easy to find live, recorded, and on demand episodes; the page also shows related YouTube clips.

Playback

On most channels, YouTube TV allows you to pause, skip forward and backwards, and jump to what’s currently live.

When you exit a live broadcast, a floating PIP displays while you browse through app.


Features

Unlimited Cloud DVR

YouTube TV has unlimited DVR storage, allowing you to keep shows for up to 9 months. You cannot record individual episodes, only entire series, sports teams, or major events.

If you start recording after you tune into a channel, the recording will start from when you first started watching. You can watch the recording from the beginning while it is still recording.

Unfortunately, you cannot skip commercials on shows that are also available on demand.

streams Simultaneous Viewing

This service allows for three simultaneous streams (among smartphones, tablets, and computers).

Good Selection On Demand

A majority of channels offer on demand content, but you cannot skip or fast-forward through the content.

YouTube TV subscribers also have access to original content from YouTube Red, like Buddy System, The Lazer Team, and Mind Field.

34 apps TV Everywhere

Similar to traditional cable and satellite subscriptions, YouTube TV includes “TV Everywhere” logins for various channels’ apps (including ABC, AMC, Bravo, Disney, and ESPN).

All TV Everywhere Apps

Mind the Kids No Parental Controls

There are no parental controls for YouTube TV. Only Hulu and Sling have parental controls.


YouTube TV offers 2 unique features: “Family Sharing” and “YouTube Red.”

Family Sharing

Family Sharing allows you to create profiles for up to 5 additional people at no cost, allowing family members to log in with their own Google account to access live TV.

YouTube Red

Your YouTube TV subscription also gives you access to YouTube Red Originals, but—unlike an actual YouTube Red subscription—you will still get commercials while watching YouTube.


Tech Specs

  • High definition video is similar to other streaming services, but mostly in 30fps.
  • Live streaming is very stable, except when streaming to older Chomecast or Apple TV devices.
  • Very fast channel switching, so you can actually channel surf.

720p / 30/60 FPS HD Video

Video stream resolution is 720p at 30 fps for most channels. They have a handful of national and regional sports channels in 60 fps. Those channels only at 30 fps may cause fast-moving sports to appear slightly blurry.

To reduce playback interruptions, YouTube TV will adapt the stream quality to match your network connection.

Great Connection Reliability

We rarely had issues with YouTube TV video playback freezing, pausing, or hiccups changing channels.

However, when using older Chromcast or Apple TV devices, we had issues with video buffering.

Stereo Audio

All live TV content has standard stereo audio.

25 SECS Live Delay

Live content is about 25 seconds behind cable TV, which is slightly better than average.

1.5 SECS Channel Switching

It takes about 1.5 seconds to switch between channels, which is the fast of any streaming service.


Devices and Apps

Device Compatibility

YouTube TV is compatible with Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Roku, Android TV, Android Phone/Tablet, iPhone/iPad, Web Browser, and Xbox One.
All Compatible Devices

YouTube TV is not compatible with Amazon Fire TV, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Nintendo Switch.

TV App

YouTube TV recently added support for Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, and some Android TV devices like NVIDIA Shield. The interface is the most elegant of the services we reviewed.

Phone & Tablet Apps

YouTube TV has the best smartphone and tablet apps of any of the live TV streaming providers.

The mobile apps have various tabs:

  • Home: a live preview of shows currently on live TV. The home screen also has a list of recently viewed shows and recorded DVR content.
  • Library: your recorded DVR content and a list of scheduled recordings.
  • Live: a channel guide, showing what is currently airing on channels.

While you browse through the YouTube TV app, a live thumbnail of your most recently watched channel appears so you won’t miss anything.

Computer

You can watch YouTube TV on Mac and Windows computers with Chrome.


Available Markets

Unlike some of the other services, YouTube TV is only available in select markets. Fortunately they’ve expanded to nearly 100 markets over the last year.

Albany
Albuquerque
Atlanta
Austin
Baltimore
Baton Rouge
Birmingham
Boston
Buffalo
Burlington
Cedar Rapids
Champaign & Springfield-Decatur
Charleston, SC
Charleston, WV
Charlotte
Chattanooga
Chicago
Cincinnati
Cleveland
Colorado Springs
Columbia, SC
Columbus
Dallas-Fort Worth
Dayton (Ohio)
Denver

Des Moines
Detroit
El Paso
Flint
Fresno-Visalia
Ft. Myers-Naples
Ft. Smith-Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers (Arkansas)
Grand Rapids
Green Bay
Greenville (North Carolina)
Greenville (South Carolina)
Greensboro
Harlingen-Wslco-Brnsvl-McA
Harrisburg
Hartford
Honolulu
Houston
Huntsville-Decatur (Alabama)
Indianapolis
Jackson (Mississippi)
Jacksonville
Kansas City
Knoxville
Las Vegas

Lexington
Little Rock
Los Angeles
Louisville
Madison
Memphis
Miami-Fort Lauderdale
Milwaukee
Minneapolis-Saint Paul
Mobile-Pensacola (Ft Walt)
Nashville
New Orleans
New York City
Norfolk
Oklahoma City
Omaha
Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne
Paducah-Cape Girardeau-Harrisburg
Philadelphia
Phoenix
Pittsburgh
Portland
Portland-Auburn (Maine)
Providence
Raleigh
Richmond-Petersburg

Roanoke-Lynchburg (Virginia)
Rochester (New York)
Sacramento
Salt Lake City
San Antonio
San Diego
San Francisco Bay Area
Savannah
Seattle
Shreveport
South Bend-Elkhart (Indiana)
Spokane
Springfield (Missouri)
St. Louis
Syracuse
Tampa
Toledo
Tucson
Tulsa
Waco
Washington DC
West Palm Beach
Wichita
Wilkes Barre-Scranton-Hztn


Channels

Local Channels

YouTube TV offers local channels, including ABC, CBS, The CW, Fox, NBC, and Telemundo.

In most cases, you will have access to live (in major markets) and on demand content every. However, some channels only have on demand content in certain locations (e.g.: ABC in Dallas; The CW in New York and Los Angeles).

“YouTube TV”
Free Trial
$40
ABC
CBS
Fox
NBC
Telemundo
The CW
Univision -

To see the live local channels available in your area, check the YouTube TV Channel Lookup tool.

Local Channel Restrictions

You can only access live local channels while you are in a market that YouTube TV is available.

If you are traveling, you will see the local channels of the market you are currently in (not your home market). If you are outside of a coverage area, you will only have access to national on demand content and your recordings.

Popular Local Markets

These popular markets have live local channels on YouTube TV.

For complete local availability, check the YouTube TV Channel Lookup tool.

Top Cable Channels

YouTube TV offers 18 of the top 35 cable channels, which is fewer than DIRECTV NOW, Playstation Vue, and Hulu Live TV

The top 35 cable channels are listed below. For a list of all channels, look at YouTube TV’s full channel lineup.

“YouTube TV”
Free Trial
$40
A&E -
AMC
Animal Planet -
BET -
Bravo
Cartoon Network
CNN
Comedy Central -
Discovery -
Disney Channel
E!
ESPN
Food Network -
Fox News
Fox Sports 1
Freeform
FX
FXX
Hallmark -
HGTV -
History -
Investigation Discovery -
Lifetime -
MSNBC
MTV -
Nickelodeon -
OWN -
Paramount Network -
Syfy
TBS
TLC -
TNT
truTV
USA Network
VH1 -

View the YouTube TV full channel lineup for a list of all channels.

Sports Channels

National Sports Channels

YouTube TV includes national sports channels, such as ESPN, FS1, FS2 and NBCSN.

“YouTube TV”
Free Trial
$40
ESPN
ESPN2
Fox Sports 1
Fox Sports 2
NBC Sports Network
TBS
TNT

Regional Sports Networks (RSNs)

YouTube TV gives access to regional sports networks (RSNs), which are generally from Fox and NBC/Comcast.

“YouTube TV”
Free Trial
$40
Altitude -
AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh -
AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain -
AT&T SportsNet Southwest -
Fox Sports Arizona
Fox Sports Carolinas
Fox Sports Detroit
Fox Sports Florida
Fox Sports Indiana
Fox Sports Kansas City
Fox Sports Midwest
Fox Sports New Orleans
Fox Sports North
Fox Sports Ohio
Fox Sports Oklahoma -
Fox Sports Prime Ticket
Fox Sports San Diego
Fox Sports South
Fox Sports Southeast
Fox Sports Southwest
Fox Sports Sun
Fox Sports Tennessee
Fox Sports West
Fox Sports Wisconsin
MASN -
MSG -
MSG+ -
NBC Sports Bay Area
NBC Sports Boston
NBC Sports California
NBC Sports Chicago
NBC Sports Northwest
NBC Sports Philadelphia
NBC Sports Philadelphia+
NBC Sports Washington
NBC Sports Washington+
NESN
Root Sports Northwest -
Spectrum SportsNet LA -
SportsNet NY
SportsTime Ohio
YES Network

You should check the YouTube TV RSN channel list before subscribing, to make sure it has the regional networks you need.

Pro Sports

Professional sports league channels (NFL Network, and NHL Network) are not available on YouTube TV. They have announced that they will be adding NBA TV and MLB Network in the near future.

“YouTube TV”
Free Trial
$40
MLB Network
NBA TV
NFL Network -
NFL RedZone -
NHL Network -

College Sports

YouTube TV has one of the best services for college sports fans; it includes Big Ten Network, CBS Sports Network, ESPNU, and SEC Network.

“YouTube TV”
Free Trial
$40
ACC Network Extra
Big Ten Network
CBS Sports Network
ESPNU
Fox College Sports -
Longhorn Network -
Pac-12 Network -
SEC Network

Other Sports Channels

ESPNEWS, Golf Channel, and Olympic Channel are available on YouTube TV.

Fox Soccer Plus can be added for $15/month.

“YouTube TV”
Free Trial
$40
beIN Sports -
Eleven Sports -
ESPNEWS
Fox Soccer Plus ^ $15
Golf Channel
Olympic Channel
Tennis Channel

Premium Channels

You can add Showtime $11 or Fox Soccer Plus $15 to your YouTube TV account.

“YouTube TV”
Free Trial
$40
Cinemax -
EPIX -
HBO -
Showtime ^ $11
Starz -

Live TV Streaming Pages