This post may contain affiliate links and we may earn a commission. Learn more

YouTube TV Review: Great, But Not Perfect

by

in
YouTube TV Review New

Originally only available in beta in select locations, it wasn’t until early 2019 when YouTube TV officially became available nationwide. Since then, YouTube TV has established itself as a major player in the industry. Today, YouTube TV provides live TV to more than 8 million subscribers, making it the most popular live TV streaming service in the United States.

Google’s live TV service offers a lot for the money, and makes a strong argument for being the best live TV streaming service on the market right now. However, YouTube TV’s premium experience comes with a premium price, and that likely means it won’t be the best option for every home.

Streaming Better Verdict

YouTube TV is a hugely popular live TV streaming service and for good reason, it is a very good live TV service,. While we think the selection of channels and premium features make it the best option for many homes, the price might be a little too expensive for some.

Overall
4.3

Pros

  • Channel selection
  • Great DVR
  • Good for families
  • Good for sports

Cons

  • Expensive
  • 4K costs more
  • Recordings can’t be deleted

YouTube TV: Live TV and channel selection

Finding the right service that offers access to all of the channels you want has become increasingly harder in recent years. In terms of YouTube TV, the live TV service officially provides access to more than 100 live TV channels, and more importantly, the selection is pretty good.

Unlike cheaper services, many of the channels available through YouTube TV are networks that households will view as the most important. In this respect, YouTube TV offers a better overall channel lineup, including local channels, than most competing services right now.

For those that do find the channel selection to be lacking, YouTube TV offers a very wide selection of bundles and premium network add-ons, including the following popular streaming services.

  • AMC+ ($8.99/mo)
  • Cinemax ($9.99/mo)
  • Hallmark Movies Now ($5.99/mo)
  • Max ($15.99/mo)
  • MGM+ ($6.99/mo)
  • NBA League Pass ($14.99/mo)
  • Paramount+ with Showtime ($10.99/mo)
  • Starz ($9.99/mo)
  • WNBA League Pass ($12.99/mo)

While subscribing through YouTube TV won’t be any cheaper than subscribing directly, there are benefits to adding a premium network, including a single app to access both services.

Sports Plus is another add-on and one which unlocks access to additional sports channels including NFL RedZone. YouTube is also now the official streaming home of NFL Sunday Ticket, which can be bundled with the base plan, or purchased as a standalone subscription.

Sports aside, YouTube TV’s channel lineup is varied enough to appeal to most homes. Subscribers get access to ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, as well as a good selection of general news and entertainment channels.

One downside is that YouTube charges an additional fee for 4K, adding to the already high price. The 4K Plus add-on, which also unlocks additional streams, costs $9.99 a month but most new subscribers can currently get it for $4.99 a month for the first twelve months.

The YouTube TV Experience

The main tabs on the home screen are Library (recordings, saved content, and so on), Home (where you start, recommendations, etc.), and Live (the live TV guide). Subscribers will find that Home includes plenty of recommendations to speed up the process of finding something to watch.

Speaking of which, Google has a habit of trying to make its products and services as user-friendly as possible, often through the use of AI and Google Assistant, and YouTube TV is no exception, with its recommendation system in full effect.

The traditional live TV guide, for example, not only lists all channels but also highlights specific live programming the service thinks the viewer might be interested in.

YouTube TV live TV guide with clock
YouTube TV live TV guide

YouTube TV offers plenty of non-live content as well, and the interface does an equally good job of making these videos accessible. Whether it’s individual episodes, entire seasons, or hit movies, there’s plenty to watch at any given time.

The YouTube TV app makes good use of keywords and shortcuts in general, making it easy to jump to even highly refined sections like “sports games” or “animated comedy.” Clicking on a keyword often loads even more granular keywords, resulting in an interface that almost places more focus on keywords than on content.

YouTube TV 4K Plus documentary filter
YouTube TV focuses on tags

Once you’ve found something to watch, playback works well. While subscribers may encounter issues from time to time, especially with live sports, we generally found the playback experience to be reliable overall.

As YouTube TV employs the use of background playback, viewer are able to continue watching in the background while navigating the live TV guide or any other section of the app.

Adding to all this, YouTube TV includes TV Everywhere support, allowing subscribers to sign in to network apps using their existing subscription. This option can be a great way to expand the level of on-demand content a home has access to, or circumvent issues with too many people watching at the same time.

In terms of sports, YouTube TV now offers a Multiview feature, providing even more value to sports fans. Basically, Multiview allows subscribers to watch up to four different sports feeds at the same time on the one screen.

As this all occurs on YouTube’s end, device support is less of an issue than with similar features offered by other services. While there are still some limitations with YouTube’s Multiview, it is now a major selling point.

Sports fans also get access to additional sports-related features, including key plays and in-game stats.

While we do really like the YouTube TV user experience overall, the interface can feel very busy at times and some users may find it to be complicated to use. In particular, younger and older users.

YouTube TV DVR And Recordings

YouTube TV’s cloud DVD is great, and another of the live TV service’s main selling points. Firstly, it is unlimited, so subscribers are free to record as many videos as they like, and as often as they like. Whether it is every NFL or Premier League game, or every episode of a popular TV show, YouTube TV’s DVR is a very solid solution. What’s more, the DVR is personal as well.

YouTube TV allows a subscriber to share their subscription with up to five other people and each person gets their own unlimited DVR. This not only means up to six people can record as much as they want, but none of them will need to worry about navigating or managing recordings made by others.

YouTube TV DVR
YouTube TV DVR recordings

With each subaccount treated like its own subscription, the individual DVR is likely to be highly beneficial to larger and busier households.

That said, YouTube TV’s DVR is not without its issues and a major one is that recordings only remain available for a maximum of nine months. After which, they are automatically deleted by YouTube TV.

Another annoying issue is that subscribers don’t have the ability to manually delete recordings. While there is a ‘remove from library‘ option, this simply stops any new recording of a show or sports event. The videos that have already been recorded continue to remain available until their expiration date.

With no way to clean up the DVR library, subscribers don’t have much choice other than waiting until a recording expires and is automatically deleted by YouTube.

YouTube TV: Cost And Value

Even though YouTube TV started life at just $35 a month, the cost has increased considerable over the years. At its current $73 a month rate, YouTube TV is more than twice as expensive as it was at launch, and one of the more expensive services in general.

In fairness to YouTube TV, the service tends to announce price increases while adding new channels, increasing the value of a subscription at the same time. While not justification, it is a better approach than just increasing the price, as many other services do.

While YouTube TV has expressed interest in launching a cheaper plan in the past, it still remains to be seen if one will ever arrive, or how skinny such a plan might end up being.

Here’s how the price compares to the other main live TV streaming services.

ServicePrice
YouTube TV$72.99
DirecTV Stream$79.99+
Fubo$79.99+
Hulu Live TV$76.99
Sling TV$40+
Philo$25
Frndly TV$7.99+

Sling TV currently costs $40 a month, making it a more suitable option for homes looking for a more affordable way to stream live TV. Even though Sling TV doesn’t offer quite as many channels or premium features as YouTube TV, it does provide enough upgrade options that a subscriber can create a package that’s relatively similar to YouTube TV.

This difference perfectly highlights YouTube TV’s main value proposition. Although we do consider YouTube TV to be worth the money, without any options to lower the price, it is not a viable solution for everyone.

Should You Sign Up To YouTube TV?

For those that can afford the monthly cost, YouTube TV offers a solid product, a reliable user experience, and features that genuinely do add value. Thanks to the addition of popular sports channels, a discount on NFL Sunday Ticket, and Multiview, It is also a very good option for sports fans.

The DVR is another reason to consider YouTube TV, and especially in homes where multiple people are to likely to be sharing a subscription. If that’s you, you may be hard-pressed to find a better live TV streaming service.

Overall, YouTube TV is arguably the best live TV streaming service around right now, and we do recommend taking advantage of the 7-day free trial to see if it is right for you.

However, the cost is high and it is only likely to become more expensive in the future. If you’re looking to save as much as possible on live TV, it might be worth considering an alternative service instead.

One option is Hulu Live TV. While Hulu’s TV service is actually $3 more each month, it does include Disney+ and ESPN+ as well. If you already pay for these subscriptions, the cost of adding Hulu Live TV will be much lower.

Philo and Sling TV are also worth considering if you’re looking to save on live TV, and if you don’t need local channels or live sports, it is hard to beat the price of Frndly TV.


YouTube TV logo branding
  • $73/mo
  • 100+ channels
  • 3 streams
  • Unlimited DVR

Deal: Pay $65/mo for first 4 months


Last updated: May 2024

John Finn

Comments

5 responses to “YouTube TV Review: Great, But Not Perfect”

  1. Do I need to cancel my YTTVSubscription to change credit card number?

    1. Hey David, no you should be able to just update the payment option in the settings. More info here – https://streamingbetter.com/youtube-tv-update-payment-method-billing-how/

  2. Utube tv has been charging my sons account and mine every month. I have been charged $68.89 from August 2020 to November 2021. How do I get reimbursed and how did you get my payment information? This is fraud and I am 74 years old on a fixed income.

  3. I am being charged twice a month for the You Tube TV service. I am unable to find a way to contact anyone to help me resolve this issue. Any ideas?

  4. I am 74 years young! Disabled!
    Fixed income! I want live sports and local channels!
    What is my best options PLEASE!

Leave a Reply

Streaming can be frustrating but please be respectful and avoid personal information. All comments are moderated according to our comment policy.

Sign up to the Streaming Better newsletter

Get our latest news and guides delivered to your mailbox.