YouTube revealed today its own plans to enter the expanding market of live TV streaming with its own service, YouTube TV. What makes it unique? Read on…
YouTube is employing a different strategy than its competition. For one thing, the selection of channels is somewhat smaller — they have not cut a deal with Viacom or TimeWarner, meaning this is the only streaming service that doesn’t include AMC, TNT or Cartoon Network. They have, however, accomplished something no other streamer has to date: all the broadcast networks. You can watch ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and The CW through any compatible device — a streaming first.
The reason no other streamer has been able to accomplish this* is because it’s expensive. You can’t just stream broadcast network TV anywhere — the stream MUST be the affiliate channel in that area, meaning hundreds of deals have to be made across the country. Because of this, YouTube TV will only be available in select cities and will be rolled out gradually as areas are cleared. If Sling or DirectTV Now tried this, they would be forced to limit their services to specific areas and they would have to give up a large portion of the channels they offer to cover the cost of affiliate streaming — something YouTube TV has decided to embrace.
*Playstation Vue offers some live network TV channels in specific markets; however, in those markets, the service costs $10 more.
YouTube TV also offers a cloud DVR right from the get-go and they also offer unlimited space for those programs. Playstation Vue offers no limit either, but the programs expire in a month. YouTube TV shows expire in NINE months. Sling offers a cloud DVR that does not expire, but storage is limited.
One other advantage: YouTube TV isn’t just one account; it’s six at once. It’s the only streaming option designed with families (or mooching roommates) in mind; the cover price gets you six different user accounts with their own unlimited DVR storage, and up to three different users can stream at once.
This all sounds great, but we have to remind you it comes at a price. The number of channels YouTube TV offers rivals Sling for its minisculity, yet it costs nearly twice as much. It also can’t be streamed from quite as many devices — Google Chromecast is the only stick that will beam it to your TV (naturally, since Google owns YouTube). Whether YouTube TV is for you depends on what your needs are. Also keep in mind the service has yet to be tested or reviewed, so this is not a recommendation.
One more thing: YouTube TV comes with YouTube Red built in, but we can’t think of a single offering on that channel anybody cares about.