YouTube started up in 2005 and has been a property of Google since 2006. The site had been gathering fame as a video sharing platform for a decade when it decided to turn to scheduled content. YouTube TV provides an online alternative to cable TV and it can be streamed onto TV sets just like regular TV services. This hasn’t changed the original YouTube website, which continues in the same format that has made it a success since 2005.
The YouTube TV service is a live TV bundle and it doesn’t include a video library, like Netflix. However, many of the channels included in the YouTube TV base package run their own catchup channels and those are included with the YouTube TV package.
How is YouTube TV different?
YouTube TV is the third largest live TV streaming service in the United States behind Hulu with Live TV and Sling TV. The service is priced around the range of prices that cable TV system charge.
One advantage that YouTube TV and its live TV streaming rivals have over traditional cable TV systems is that the company doesn’t have to provide any infrastructure. That means there are no installation or equipment fees for the customer to pay. It also enables YouTube TV to be more flexible over the contracts for its service.
Subscribers pay for a month’s service up front. If they don’t pay the next month, the service stops. If they start paying again, the service becomes available again. There are no early termination fees or reconnection charges. YouTube TV does not require a deposit and there are no credit checks before the service is turned on.
A weakness of the live TV streamers, including YouTube TV is that customers have to have an internet connection before they can even apply for the TV service. That gives cable TV companies an advantage because they can offer very good deals on combined internet and TV packages.
YouTube TV’s base package includes 70 channels. These include ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, AMC, HGTV, Food Network, CNN, MSNBC, NBC SN, ESPN, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Cartoon Network, and Universal Kids.
All accounts are allowed three simultaneous streams and membership includes a cloud DVR system with unlimited DVR cloud storage space. Recordings are kept for nine months.
Check out our roundup of Best Live TV Streaming Services
Who is YouTube TV best for?
New householders are more likely to opt for a live TV streaming service, such as YouTube TV because it is easier to select an innovative TV delivery system when you are not already committed to an existing service.
As the base package of YouTube TV includes general entertainment, lifestyle channels, children’s TV, and live sports, the service is suitable for all ages and would particularly interest families.
YouTube TV is only available within the United States. Although it will stream onto mobile devices, it won’t work if you travel abroad on vacation or for work.
How to get YouTube TV
The main requirement to get YouTube TV is an internet connection that delivers at least 3 Mbps. However, YouTube recommends a speed of 7 Mbps just to be safe. That is because multiple streaming on the same internet connection will put more demands on the internet service capacity.
A media player at the YouTube TV website means that the channels can be accessed from any computer regardless of the operating system just as long as it runs a Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox web browser. Users with mobile devices can download an app to watch TV on the go. The apps are available for Android phones and tablets and also iPhone, iPads, and iPod touch devices, all of which run the iOS operating system. Google Chromecast can forward the TV steam from computers and mobile devices onto a TV set.
Vizio, Samsung, and LG smart TVs can receive the YouTube TV signal direct. The YouTube TV service can also be channeled through AirPlay, Apple TV boxes, Android TV boxes, Roku devices, Amazon Fire TV devices, Xbox One consoles, and PlayStation 4 consoles.