We know it was coming, but we just didn’t know when. Google surprised many by announcing YouTube TV at a secretive launch event in Los Angeles. It’ll launch later this year in select major U.S. markets with a price that’s equal or better than the competition.
Google is getting into the live television streaming race before the field gets even more crowded.
Announcing YouTube TV
YouTube TV won’t be yet another service that gets lost in the mix. Google wants you to be able to watch the most popular channels on any screen and without commitment. Well, so does Dish Network, AT&T, and and Sony. The difference maker for YouTube TV is the simplicity. You’re not getting the option to be selective in the channels on your account. Instead, all customers are paying one price for the same package.
Key features include cloud storage with simultaneous recording, access to YouTube TV on multiple devices, and support for six profiles on one account.
Beyond doing a straightforward single bundle, YouTube comes with a really easy-to-understand app. Google isn’t going to win any visual awards for YouTube TV’s app, but it’s informative and doesn’t show many things at once.
These are the channels YouTube TV subscribers get at launch:
Based on the channels included, it’s clear who Google has deals with. Each of the major broadcast networks are available — CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC, and The CW. Then you get sports networks like ESPN, FS1, and NBSC. Into news? Notably, CNN is missing along with all Turner networks. But you can watch MSNBC, CNBC, FOX News Channel, and FOX Business. Then, when you’re ready to be entertained by cable’s offerings, you can switch over to USA Network, FX, Bravo, SyFy, and National Geographic.
To recap, the major content providers missing are Viacom and Turner. Channels like MTV, Spike, Comedy Central, TNT, TBS, and TruTV aren’t on YouTube TV at this time.
Compared to its competitors, Google is positioning YouTube TV as one of the cheapest. It’ll be just $35 per month for 44 channels and a little extra for 2 add-on channels. Dish Network’s Sling TV starts at that price also, but there are plenty of extras to build your bundle. DirecTV Now, meanwhile, is a more expensive service. And Sony’s PlayStation Vue is about the same as Sling TV. Google’s strategy with YouTube TV is to give consumers the most popular channels with valuable programming together rather than letting them pick and choose individual channel bundles.
YouTube TV will be live in “the largest U.S. markets” soon before expanding to new cities throughout the country. For now, Google recommends signing up on the service’s site to receive updates. You’ll be able to stream on phones, tablets, and computers when the service goes live. If you want to enjoy YouTube TV on a television, you’ll need to connect a Chromecast or Chromecast Ultra.