YouTube TV has changed a lot over the years. Not only has the price significantly increased, but the channel lineup itself has also changed. All of which does make YouTube TV in 2021 a very different product to YouTube TV in 2019. Whether the changes are for the better of worse comes down to what a consumer expects from live TV streaming in 2021, as well as what they expected a couple of years ago.
Technically, YouTube TV launched in 2017. However, this was a beta launch with the service only available in select locations in the U.S. As time went on, the service continued to expand to new places, but it was not until early in 2019 when YouTube TV announced it was available nationwide. Which makes 2019 a good point in time to compare with the service on offer today.
As of March 1, 2019, YouTube TV was priced at $40 per month. For that cost, subscribers had access to more than 60 live TV channels. The exact number of channels could vary slightly, due to the difference in local channels in different locations.
As of March 1, 2021, YouTube is priced at $65 per month. For that price, subscribers get access to more than 85 channels. Once again, the exact number might vary, depending on location. Two aspects that haven’t changed over the years is the unlimited cloud DVR and the ability for an account to be shared with up to five additional family or household members.
YouTube TV 2019 and 2021 channels compared
With the advertised number of channels having risen from 60 to 85, it is a more robust product now than it was two years ago. Of course the price has also risen from $40 to $65 per month during the same period. While this isn’t as simple as each additional channel having increased the price by $1, the base number of channels and the rise in price each total 25.
For a clearer view of how the service has changed in terms of channels over the years, below is a side by side comparison of the YouTube TV channel lineup in 2019 and in 2021.
YouTube TV 2019 and 2021 channels:
|BBC World News||✔||✔|
|Fox News Channel||✔||✔|
|MLB Game of the week||✔|
|NBC News Now||✔|
|Orlando City SC||✔|
Just taking the numbers at face value and it clear that YouTube TV now offers access to more channels than it did in 2019. Once again, things are not quite that simple. While the overall number of channels has increased, this is not simply a matter of YouTube TV having added more channels. Instead, the channel lineup has been revised on more than one occasion, resulting in some channels having been removed from a subscription.
2019 channels gone in 2021:
- Cheddar Business
- Fox Sports
- Local Now
- Orlando City SC
- Seattle Sounders
- Tennis Channel
- YES Network
Even with the list above, the exact change in lineups is not totally accurate, considering a number of Fox RSNs were also removed in recent years. Still, the changes do highlight how the increased number of channels might not automatically translate to a better product for all consumers, and especially those interested in sports.
Regardless of the channels that have been removed, plenty have been added at the same time, so it is worth taking a moment to see which channels are available now that weren’t available two years ago.
2021 channels added since 2019:
- ABC News
- Adult Swim
- Animal Planet
- CNBC World
- Comedy Central
- Cozi TV
- Food Network
- Investigation Discovery
- MLB Game of the week
- NBC News Now
- NFL Network
- Paramount Network
- PBS Kids
- Travel Channel
- TV Land
- WGN America
YouTube TV 2019 and 2021 summary
Whether YouTube TV does offer a better package in 2021 than it did in 2019 will come down to the individual. The higher number of channels has resulted in more choice and especially for busier households where an account is shared with others. However, the cost of the subscription has increased at the same time. For many, the product that was available for $40 in 2019 was likely a better deal. Although the channel lineup was more limited, the lower price and the access to more local channels would have been a better option.
Regardless of anything else, what is clear is just how much and how quickly the market has changed. Two years feels like a long time ago in streaming years, but in reality it wasn’t that long ago. Leading to the question of just how different YouTube TV (and live TV streaming in general) will look in another two years?