What is YouTube TV? Review, Cost, Channels List, Free Trial Info, and More (2018)

OUR RATING — a breakdown of our YouTube TV review:

DVR  ★★★★★
Sports  ★★★★☆
Channel Count   ★★★☆☆
Local Coverage ★★★★★
Streaming Quality  ★★★★☆
OVERALL —★★★★☆

Let’s face it: there is no perfect, one-size-fits-all TV streaming solution. But, in our book at least, YouTube TV gets pretty darn close.

YouTube TV is smooth, it’s easy to use, it’s available in HD, and it includes a good number of channels—all for $40 per month. That’s a lot cheaper than cable, for sure. Plus, we absolutely love the unlimited DVR.

Sure, no streaming service is perfect. YouTube TV doesn’t offer HBO®, so that may be a deal breaker for a lot of users. And it’s a newer service, so it’s not yet available in all areas (though recent counts show around 85% of US residents live in areas where it’s offered1).

But in spite of these drawbacks, we feel pretty confident it’s going to be a good fit for most cord-cutters.

So what is YouTube TV?

YouTube TV is Google’s answer to cutting the cord.

YouTube TV is separate from regular old YouTube. While YouTube offers free access to user-uploaded videos and music, YouTube TV is a subscription TV service. You pay a monthly fee in order to watch the content it offers, just like you would with a Netflix account. You also need a streaming device (your phone, tablet, or computer will work in a pinch) that is compatible with the YouTube TV app.

YouTube TV avoids a lot of the pain points you’ve likely experienced with a cable TV package. You don’t have to sign a contract, and it features a channel selection that’s been slimmed down to include only the most popular channels. That way, you’re not paying extra for channels you never watch.

So which channels are available with YouTube TV?

YouTube TV packages and channels

So which channels are available on YouTube TV?

  • YouTube TV has only one package for $40 per month. It comes with 73 live channels, including ESPN, CNN, and Cartoon Network.

YouTube TV channel list

ChannelLIVE / VOD
Free Trial
ABC*LIVE / VOD
AMCLIVE / VOD
BBC AmericaLIVE / VOD
BBC World NewsLIVE / VOD
Big Ten NetworkLIVE / VOD
BravoLIVE / VOD
Cartoon NetworkLIVE / VOD
CBS*LIVE / VOD
CBS Sports NetworkLIVE
CheddarLIVE / VOD
Cheddar Big NewsLIVE
CNBCLIVE / VOD
CNNLIVE / VOD
CometLIVE
The CW*LIVE / VOD
DecadesLIVE
Disney ChannelLIVE / VOD
Disney JuniorLIVE / VOD
Disney XDLIVE / VOD
E!LIVE / VOD
ESPNLIVE / VOD
ESPN 2LIVE / VOD
Free Trial
ESPNEWSLIVE / VOD
ESPNULIVE / VOD
FOX*LIVE / VOD
FOX BusinessLIVE
FOX NewsLIVE
FOX Regional Sports NetworksLIVE
FOX Sports 1LIVE / VOD
FOX Sports 2LIVE / VOD
FreeformLIVE / VOD
FXLIVE / VOD
FX Movie ChannelLIVE / VOD
FXXLIVE
Golf ChannelLIVE / VOD
HLNLIVE
IFCLIVE / VOD
Los Angeles Football Club*LIVE
MLB NetworkLIVE / VOD
MSNBCLIVE / VOD
myTV*LIVE
Nat Geo WildLIVE / VOD
National GeographicLIVE / VOD
NBATVLIVE / VOD
NBC*LIVE / VOD
NBC Regional Sports NetworksLIVE
NBC UniversoLIVE / VOD
NBCSNLIVE / VOD
Free Trial
NECN*LIVE / VOD
NESN*LIVE / VOD
NewsyLIVE / VOD
Olympic ChannelLIVE / VOD
Orlando City SC*LIVE
PopLIVE / VOD
Seattle Sounders*LIVE
SEC NetworkLIVE / VOD
Smithsonian ChannelLIVE / VOD
SNY*LIVE
SundanceTVLIVE / VOD
SyfyLIVE / VOD
TastemadeLIVE / VOD
TBSLIVE / VOD
TCMLIVE / VOD
TelemundoLIVE / VOD
Tennis ChannelLIVE
TNTLIVE / VOD
TruTVLIVE / VOD
TYT NetworkLIVE / VOD
USA NetworkLIVE / VOD
Universal KidsLIVE / VOD
WE TVLIVE / VOD
YES*LIVE
YouTube RedLIVE / VOD
Regional Sports NetworksCheck Availabilty
Free Trial
Channel
BBC World News
Cheddar Big News
Comet
Decades
FOX Regional Sports Networks
FX Movie Channel
Los Angeles Football Club*
myTV*
NBC Regional Sports Networks
NBC Universo
NECN*
Newsy
Orlando City SC*
Pop
Seattle Sounders*
Smithsonian Channel
Tastemade
TYT Network
Universal Kids
YouTube Red
Regional Sports Networks
LIVE / VOD
Free Trial
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
Free Trial
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
Free Trial
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
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LIVE
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LIVE
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LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
Check Availabilty
Free Trial
*Local channel offerings vary by area. ABC On Demand, FOX On Demand, and NBC On Demand available in all areas.

YouTube TV is pretty simple: there’s one package with one list of channels.

That makes it easy to figure out if it’ll work with your needs and budget—no pouring over complicated package comparisons (we’re looking at you, Sling TV), trying to figure out if the service will actually deliver what you want for a price you can afford.

YouTube TV includes a number of channels that other streaming providers make you pay extra for. That’s an especially big deal if you don’t want to pay for add-ons and package upgrades in order to get Disney Junior, ESPNU, FX Movie Channel, or the Tennis Channel (to name a few).

Oh, and by the way—YouTube TV is also great for sports. In fact, it’s one of the few streaming providers that actually offers regional sports channels like the Los Angeles Football Club channel and NESN.

We could go on and on, but you get the picture. YouTube TV’s channel lineup has a ton to offer, and it’s one of the more affordable options out there for the value it brings.

YouTube TV Channel add-ons

If you like the idea of streaming TV but can’t live without your premium channels, YouTube TV is still a solid choice. It offers four premium add-ons, but it notably doesn’t offer HBO. So if you can’t live without watching the final Game of Thrones season, you may want to check out the super cheap premium channels available on DIRECTV NOW instead.

  • FOX Soccer Plus ($15 per month)

For diehard soccer fans, this network features the most comprehensive coverage of international soccer available in the US, including the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups. Keep in mind, though, that this add-on will not get you access to the FOX Soccer Match Pass mobile app.

  • SHOWTIME® ($11 per month)

Want to ditch cable but can’t stand to miss an episode of Homeland? Don’t worry. YouTube TV offers SHOWTIME for $11 extra a month. Granted, SHOWTIME’s standalone service costs the same, but we’d still say it’s worth it just so you can watch all your favorite channels in one place.

  • Shudder ($5 per month)

This network is perfect for horror fans, as it features a human-curated collection of thrilling shows, blockbuster movies, and classic horror films. And if you want to get your thrills on the go, your YouTube TV login also grants you access to the Shudder TV app on your mobile device.

  • Sundance Now ($7 per month)

Prestige film fans are sure to love the Sundance Now addition. It features tons of independent content, including both films and TV series. Sidenote: we highly recommend Travel Man: 48 Hours in . . .

Local channels available with YouTube TV

Local channels are a bigger deal when you sign up for a streaming service than when you use cable. To learn more about watching local channels on your streaming service, check out this in-depth guide.

YouTube TV is one of the best services out there for watching your local channels. In fact, there are only a few areas where YouTube TV doesn’t offer all four major local stations (ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC).

To find out which local stations are available in your area . . .

  1. Make sure YouTube TV is available in your area.
  2. Check YouTube TV’s list of available networks. If your area only offers a network on demand, it means YouTube TV does not offer livestreaming for that network in your hometown.

Or you can always find your city in the list below to see which local stations are offered in your area.

  • Birmingham, AL: ABC (WBMA), CBS (WIAT), FOX (WBRC), NBC (WVTM)
  • Huntsville – Decatur, AL: ABC (WAAY), CBS (WHNT), FOX (WZDX), NBC (WVTM)
  • Mobile, AL – Pensacola, FL: ABC (WEAR), CBS (WKRG), FOX (WALA), NBC (WPMI)
  • Rogers – Fayetteville – Fort Smith, AR: ABC (KHBS), CBS (KFSM), FOX (KFTA), NBC (KNWA)
  • Little Rock, AR: ABC (KATV), CBS (KTHV), FOX (KLRT), NBC (KARK)
  • Mesa – Phoenix, AZ: ABC (KNXV), CBS (KPHO), FOX (KSAZ), NBC (KPNX)
  • Tucson, AZ: ABC (KGUN), CBS (KOLD), FOX (KMSB), NBC (KVOA)
  • Fresno, CA: ABC (KFSN), CBS (KGPE), FOX (KMPH), NBC (KSEE)
  • Los Angeles, CA: ABC (KABC), CBS (KCBS), FOX (KTTV), NBC (KNBC)
  • San Diego, CA: ABC (KGTV), CBS (KFMB), FOX (KSWB), NBC (KNSD)
  • San Francisco – Oakland – San Jose, CA: ABC (KGO), CBS (KPIX), FOX (KTVU), NBC (KNTV)
  • Stockton – Sacramento – Modesto, CA: ABC (KXTV), CBS (KOVR), FOX (KTXL), NBC (KCRA)
  • Colorado Springs – Pueblo, CO: ABC (KRDO), CBS (KKTV), FOX (KXRM), NBC (KOAA)
  • Denver, CO: ABC (KMGH), CBS (KCNC), FOX (KDVR), NBC (KUSA)
  • Hartford – New Haven, CT: ABC (WTNH), CBS (WFSB), FOX (WTIC), NBC (WVIT)
  • Washington, DC: ABC (WJLA), CBS (WUSA), FOX (WTTG), NBC (WRC)
  • Fort Myers – Naples, FL: ABC (WZVN), CBS (WINK), FOX (WFTX), NBC (WBBH)
  • Jacksonville, FL: ABC (WJXX), CBS (WJAX), FOX (WFOX), NBC (WTLV)
  • Miami – Fort Lauderdale, FL: ABC (WPLG), CBS (WFOR), FOX (WSVN), NBC (WTVJ)
  • Orlando – Daytona Beach – Melbourne, FL: ABC (WFTV), CBS (WKMG), FOX (WOFL), NBC (WESH)
  • Petersburg – Tampa, FL: ABC (WFTS), CBS (WTSP), FOX (WTVT), NBC (WFLA)
  • West Palm Beach, FL: ABC, (WPBF), CBS (WPEC), FOX (WFLX), NBC (WPTV)
  • Atlanta, GA: ABC (WSB), CBS (WGCL), FOX (WAGA), NBC (WXIA)
  • Savannah, GA: ABC (WJCL), CBS (WTOC), FOX (WTGS), NBC (WSAV)
  • Honolulu, HI: ABC (KITV), CBS (KGMB), FOX (KHON), NBC (KHNL)
  • Cedar Rapids – Waterloo – Dubuque – Iowa City, IA: ABC (KCRG), CBS (KGAN), FOX (KFXA), NBC (KWWL)
  • Des Moines, IA: ABC (WOI), CBS (KCCI), FOX (KDSM)
  • Harrisburg, IL – Paducah, KY – Cape Girardeau, MO: ABC (WSIL), CBS (KFVS), FOX (KBSI), NBC (WPSD)
  • Chicago, IL: ABC (WLS), CBS (WBBM), FOX (WFLD), NBC (WMAQ)
  • Bloomington – Indianapolis, IN: ABC (WRTV), CBS (WTTV), FOX (WXIN), NBC (WTHR)
  • South Bend, IN: ABC (WBND), CBS (WSBT), FOX (WSBT), NBC (WNDU)
  • Hutchinson – Wichita, KS: ABC (KAKE), CBS (KWCH), FOX (KSAS), NBC (KSNW)
  • Lexington, KY: ABC (WTVQ), CBS (WKYT), FOX (WDKY), NBC (WLEX)
  • Louisville, KY: ABC (WHAS), CBS (WLKY), FOX (WDRB), NBC (WAVE)
  • Baton Rouge, LA: ABC (WBRZ), CBS (WAFB), FOX (WGMB)
  • New Orleans, LA: CBS (WWL), FOX (WVUE), NBC (WDSU)
  • Shreveport, LA – Texarkana, TX: ABC (KTBS), CBS (KSLA), FOX (KMSS), NBC (KTAL)
  • Boston, MA: ABC (WCVB), CBS (WBZ), FOX (WFXT), NBC (WBTS)
  • New Bedford, MA – Providence, RI: ABC (WLNE), CBS (WPRI), FOX (WNAC), NBC (WJAR)
  • Baltimore, MD: ABC (WMAR), CBS (WJZ), FOX (WBFF), NBC (WBAL)
  • Poland Spring – Portland, ME: ABC (WMTW), CBS (WGME), FOX (WPFO), NBC (WCSH)
  • Bay City – Flint – Saginaw, MI: ABC (WJRT), CBS (WNEM), FOX (WSMH), NBC (WEYI)
  • Detroit, MI: ABC (WXYZ), CBS (WWJ), FOX (WJBK), NBC (WDIV)
  • Grand Rapids – Kalamazoo – Battle Creek, MI: ABC (WOTV), CBS (WWMT), FOX (WXMI), NBC (WOOD)
  • Minneapolis – St. Paul, MN: ABC (KSTP), CBS (WCCO), FOX (KMSP), NBC (KARE)
  • Kansas City, MO: ABC (KMBC), CBS (KCTV), FOX (WDAF), NBC (KSHB)
  • Springfield, MO: ABC (KSPR), CBS (KOLR), FOX (KRBK), NBC (KYTV)
  • Louis, MO: ABC (KDNL), CBS (KMOV), FOX (KTVI), NBC (KSDK)
  • Jackson, MS: ABC (WAPT), CBS (WJTV), FOX (WDBD), NBC (WLBT)
  • Belmont – Charlotte, NC: ABC (WSOC), CBS (WBTV), FOX (WJZY), NBC (WCNC)
  • Goldsboro – Raleigh – Durham – Fayetteville, NC: ABC (WTVD), CBS (WNCN), FOX (WRAZ), NBC (WRAL)
  • Greensboro – High Point – Winston – Salem, NC: ABC (WXLV), CBS (WFMY), FOX (WGHP), NBC (WXII)
  • Greenville – New Bern – Washington, NC: ABC (WCTI), CBS (WNCT), FOX (WYDO), NBC (WITN)
  • Omaha, NE: ABC (KETV), CBS (KMTV), FOX (KPTM), NBC (WOWT)
  • Albuquerque – Santa Fe, NM: ABC (KOAT), CBS (KRQE), FOX (KRQE), NBC (KOB)
  • Las Cruces, NM – El Paso, TX: ABC (WVIA), CBS (KDBC), FOX (KFOX), NBC (KTSM)
  • Las Vegas, NV: ABC (KTNV), CBS (KLAS), FOX (KVVU), NBC (KSNV)
  • Buffalo, NY: ABC (WKBW), CBS (WIVB), FOX (WUTV), NBC (WGRZ)
  • Plattsburgh, NY – Burlington, VT: ABC (WVNY), CBS (WCAX), FOX (WFFF), NBC (WPTZ)
  • New York City, NY: ABC (WABC), CBS (WCBS), FOX (WNYW), NBC (WNBC)
  • Rochester, NY: ABC (WHAM(, CBS (WROC), FOX (WUHF), NBC (WHEC)
  • Schenectady – Albany – Troy, NY: ABC (WTEN), CBS (WRGB), FOX (WXXA), NBC (WNYT)
  • Syracuse, NY: ABC (WSYR), CBS (WTVH), FOX (WSYT), NBC (WSTM)
  • Cincinnati, OH: ABC (WCPO), CBS (WKRC), FOX (WXIX), NBC (WLWT)
  • Columbus, OH: ABC (WSYX), CBS (WBNS), FOX (WTTE), NBC (WCMH)
  • Dayton, OH: ABC (WKEF), CBS (WHIO), FOX (WRGT), NBC (WDTN)
  • Akron – Shaker Heights – Cleveland, OH: ABC (WEWS), CBS (WOIO), FOX (WJW), NBC (WKYC)
  • Toledo, OH: ABC (WTVG), CBS (WTOL), FOX (WUPW), NBC (WNWO)
  • Oklahoma City, OK: ABC (KOCO), CBS (KWTV), FOX (KOKH)
  • Tulsa, OK: ABC (KTUL), CBS (KOTV), FOX (KOKI), NBC (KJRH)
  • Portland, OR: ABC (KATU), CBS (KOIN), FOX (KPTV), NBC (KGW)
  • Harrisburg – Lancaster – York – Lebanon, PA: ABC (WHTM), CBS (WHP), FOX (WPMT), NBC (WGAL)
  • Philadelphia, PA: ABC (WPVI), CBS (KYW), FOX (WTXF), NBC (WCAU)
  • Pittsburgh, PA: ABC (WTAE), CBS (KDKA), FOX (WPGH), NBC (WPXI)
  • Scranton – Wilkes-Barre, PA: CBS (WYOU), FOX (WOLF), NBC (WBRE)
  • Charleston, SC: ABC (WCIV), CBS (WCSC), FOX (WTAT), NBC (WCBD)
  • Columbia, SC: ABC (WOLO), CBS (WLTX), FOX (WACH), NBC (WIS)
  • Asheville – Spartanburg – Greenville, SC: ABC (WLOS), CBS (WSPA), FOX (WHNS), NBC (WYFF)
  • Chattanooga, TN: ABC (WTVC), CBS (WDEF), FOX (WTVC), NBC (WRCB)
  • Knoxville, TN: ABC (WATE), CBS (WVLT), FOX (WTNZ), NBC (WBIR)
  • Memphis, TN: ABC (WANT), CBS (WREG), FOX (WHBQ), NBC (WMC)
  • Nashville, TN: ABC (WKRN), CBS (WTVF), FOX (WZTV), NBC (WSMV)
  • Austin, TX: ABC (KVUE), CBS (KEYE), FOX (KTBC), NBC (KXAN)
  • Brownsville – Harlingen – Weslaco, TX: ABC (KRGV), CBS (KGBT), NBC (KVEO)
  • Waco – Temple – Killeen, TX: ABC (KXXV), CBS (KWTX), FOX (KWKT), NBC (KCEN)
  • Fort Worth – Dallas, TX: ABC (WFAA), CBS (KTVT), FOX (KDFW), NBC (KXAS)
  • Houston, TX: ABC (KTRK), CBS (KHOU), FOX (KRIV), NBC (KPRC)
  • San Antonio, TX: ABC (KSAT), CBS (KENS), FOX (KABB), NBC (WOAI)
  • Salt Lake City, UT: ABC (KTVX), CBS (KUTV), FOX (KSTU), NBC (KSL)
  • Norfolk – Portsmouth – Newport News, VA: ABC (WVEC), CBS (WTKR), FOX (WVBT), NBC (WAVY)
  • Petersburg – Richmond, VA: ABC (WRIC), CBS (WCAV), FOX (WRLH), NBC (WWBT)
  • Roanoke – Lynchburg, VA: ABC (WSET), CBS (WDBJ), FOX (WFXR, NBC (WSLS)
  • Seattle – Tacoma, WA: ABC (KOMO), CBS (KIRO), FOX (KCPQ), NBC (KING)
  • Spokane, WA: ABC (KXLY), CBS (KREM), FOX (KAYU), NBC (KHQ)
  • Green Bay, WI: ABC (WBAY), CBS (WFRV), FOX (WLUK), NBC (WGBA)
  • Madison, WI: ABC (WKOW), CBS (WISC), FOX (WMSN), NBC (WMTV)
  • Milwaukee, WI: ABC (WISN), CBS (WDJT), FOX (WITI), NBC (WTMJ)
  • Charleston – Huntington, WV: ABC (WCHS), CBS (WOWK), FOX (WVAH), NBC (WSAZ)

Don’t see the local stations you want?

On the off chance you live in an area where YouTube TV doesn’t offer every local station, you may want to supplement your streaming service with an HD TV antenna.

We like the Mohu Releaf (available on Amazon) for its reliability, but even cheaper antennas like the Clear TV antenna are viable options too. You can check out its current price and specs on Amazon to see if it’s a good fit for your household.

YouTube TV features

Here’s everything we know about YouTube TV’s streaming experience.

Cloud DVR

HoursPrice
Basic PackageUnlimited*Included
Basic Package
Hours Price
Unlimited* Included
*Unlimited recording space available, but content cannot be stored for more than nine months.

YouTube TV has hands-down the best DVR of any streaming service on the market.

Like PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV features unlimited DVR recording space, so you can record as many shows as you want (on multiple channels simultaneously) without worrying that older recordings will be deleted to make room for new ones.

YouTube TV surpasses PlayStation Vue, though, because it lets you keep your recordings for up to nine months (PlayStation Vue lets you keep your recordings for only 28 days).

We also love that you can add up to five other users on your YouTube TV account, and each user has their own unlimited DVR. That means you don’t have to scroll through hundreds of Sophia the First recordings before you get to your It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode.

And bonus: the kids won’t accidentally stumble on a completely age-inappropriate episode of Game of Thrones by accident either.

To top it all off, you can set, watch, and manage your recordings remotely via your mobile devices, so you don’t have to panic if you forgot to set a recording for Saturday Night Live before you left the house for date night.

Simultaneous streams

StreamsPrice
Basic package3Included
Basic package
Streams Price
3 Included

YouTube TV allows up to three simultaneous streams, meaning you can watch TV on up to three devices at once. So if you really want to watch the game downstairs on your sweet 4K HDR TV, you can distract your cartoon-hungry kids with the latest Ducktales episodes on your phone or tablet without even breaking a sweat.

The one thing we don’t love is how there’s no option to add more simultaneous streams, even for an additional monthly fee. That’s a problem considering family accounts can have up to six users, who may each want to stream from a different device.

Playback features and commercial skipping on YouTube TV

LiveOn demandDVRPrice
PausingYYYIncluded
RewindingYYYIncluded
Fast-forwardingYYYIncluded
Pausing
Rewinding
Fast-forwarding
Live On demand DVR Price
Y Y Y Included
Y Y Y Included
Y Y Y Included

There’s a lot to love about YouTube TV. One thing we don’t love, though, is the way the service serves up DVRed content.

If you DVR a show on YouTube TV, but that episode is also available on demand, YouTube TV serves the on-demand version, which means you’re stuck watching unskippable commercials anyway. Forced ad breaks are pretty standard for on-demand content, but that’s a big drawback for users who record shows specifically so they can skip eczema ads.

To be fair, though, YouTube TV is the best for commercial skipping on live TV. Most streaming services let you pause livestreams for a limited time—if at all (ahem Sling TV). YouTube TV, on the other hand, lets you pause your livestream for as long as you want. Seriously, we haven’t been able to find a limit on it yet.

YouTube TV also doesn’t shoehorn in unskippable ad breaks if you fall far enough behind live TV (we’re looking at you, Hulu Live). And if you pause for longer than an hour on a half-hour show, you won’t jump back to live TV once the episode is over. It’s much more like cable—you can watch and skip commercials as long as you want until you catch up.

YouTube TV Streaming quality and interface

As far as streaming quality goes, we think YouTube TV’s got the best overall product. With YouTube TV, you can stream live content without any major hitches in 1080p resolution. That’s big considering that most streaming services with 1080p have a greater tendency to glitch, lag, and blur when things move on screen.

YouTube TV’s interface is just the right amount of simple—it’s intuitive, but it doesn’t oversimplify to the point that you don’t know where anything is.

YouTube TV’s interface features just three tabs, which makes it easy to find what you need.

The interface features just three tabs: “Home,” “Live,” and “Library”. On the home tab, you can see a curated collection of content, including live TV, on-demand shows, movies, and YouTube Red originals YouTube thinks you’d enjoy based on your viewing habits.

YouTube TV’s channel guide is easy to use, especially if you’re new to cutting the cord and used to cable.

The Live tab displays an easy-to-use guide, which shows all the channels you have and the schedule for each. The “Library” features all your DVRed shows and movies. And if you’re looking for a specific show or movie, you can always search for it. YouTube TV will pull up any available on-demand episodes, let you know when new episodes will air, and give you the option to record. Easy peasy.

YouTube TV device compatibility

Originally, YouTube TV was available only on Chromecast devices. That made sense, since the Chromecast is a Google creation and YouTube is a Google company. But it wasn’t great for the user.

Fortunately, YouTube TV is now available on a few more devices, including Apple TVs, Android TVs, Rokus, select smart TVs, and all Android and iOS mobile devices.

One device you won’t find YouTube TV on, though, is the Amazon Fire TV. This is a conscious choice on Google’s part, as Google and Amazon are currently locked in a long-standing feud. They’re basically the Nicki Minaj and Cardi B of corporations, so don’t expect YouTube TV to show up on the Amazon Fire TV anytime soon.

YouTube TV Devices:

YouTube TV Promotions

Back when YouTube TV was streamable on only Chromecast devices, YouTube TV offered a killer deal that got you a free Chromecast dongle after your first payment. Unfortunately, that deal is no longer available.

In fact, YouTube TV doesn’t really offer any deals at this time. If we hear even a whisper of one in the future, though, we’ll be sure to loop you in.

Stay in the know

We keep our ears close to the ground, scoping out the best streaming deals and services. Sign up for our newsletter and you too can get the scoop on deals, changes to streaming services, and more.

YouTube TV review summary (our verdict)

Pros:

  • Good channel selection
  • Average price
  • Uh-maze-ing cloud DVR
  • All the local channels
  • Family sharing
  • Excellent live playback control
  • Great streaming quality and interface

Cons:

  • Lower availability
  • Not a lot of premium channels—no HBO
  • Only three simultaneous streams available
  • Unskippable ads on some DVR content

Honestly, we love YouTube TV. It’s got the best DVR on the market, excellent local channel offerings, a great channel selection, and middle-of-the-road pricing. That makes for a strong overall offering, even if it’s not available in every market (yet).

Granted, it’s not perfect. If you’re a big HBO fan, YouTube TV will probably not be a good pick for you. Sometimes, YouTube TV also serves on-demand versions of episodes you’ve recorded (unskippable commercials and all), which is less than ideal. And, as we mentioned above, it’s not available everywhere, though over 85% of US residents can get it as of this writing.

But considering the service’s overall offerings, we feel confident recommending YouTube TV to anyone trying to ditch their cable company. It’s easy for first-time cord-cutters to figure out and use, and it certainly features better streaming quality and value than you’d get with Sling TV.

YouTube TV review FAQs

How does YouTube TV work?

YouTube TV is a subscription TV streaming service. Basically, it lets you watch a selection of cable networks and local channels without having to sign a contract or get raked over the coals by your cable company. Huzzah!

What makes YouTube TV different from cable?

Cable companies make you sign a contract and then force you to buy or rent their set-top box, pay for installation of your service, and put up with any arbitrary rate hikes the company decides to enforce.

YouTube TV, on the other hand, is delivered via your internet connection. You don’t have to sign a contract, you don’t have to pay rental fees for your streaming device, and you certainly don’t have to put up with rate hikes unless you want to.

Streaming services like YouTube TV are also different from cable in that they’re considerably less expensive. Rather than making you pay for expensive channels you never watch, streaming services pare down their offerings to just the essential networks you actually want. That lowers the overall cost of your service and saves you money every month.

Is YouTube TV free?

As nice as that would be, no—YouTube TV is not free. But it does let you watch your favorite shows for considerably less than cable. And you do get the chance to try out the service for free for seven days. Just head over to the site and sign up for your free trial.

How much is YouTube TV per month?

YouTube TV is $40 per month. Of course, your monthly cost will be higher if you opt for the SHOWTIME, Shudder, Sundance Now, or Fox Soccer Plus add-ons.

What is YouTube Red?

YouTube Red is a separate subscription service from YouTube or YouTube TV. It gets you ad-free access to YouTube content and YouTube Red original shows. It also includes Google Play Music and offline viewing capabilities.

Does YouTube TV include YouTube Red?

Yes and no. With YouTube TV, you do get access to YouTube Red originals. However, it doesn’t get you any of the other YouTube Red perks. In other words, you won’t be able to skip commercials, use Google Play Music, or watch videos offline.

If you want those perks, you’ll have to sign up for the YouTube Red service separately from your YouTube TV service. Bummer.

Can you use YouTube TV credentials to authenticate TV Everywhere apps?

Yes. TV Everywhere apps get you access to select cable networks online. You can download them on just about any device. You just have to input your cable or streaming service credentials.

YouTube TV credentials give you access to a select number of TV Everywhere apps. And the best part is, using the TV Everywhere app doesn’t count toward your simultaneous streams. So if you’ve already got three people using YouTube TV on three devices and someone wants to watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians, they can just log into the E! Now app. Everyone’s happy.

Here are the TV Everywhere apps that accept login credentials from YouTube TV:

  • WATCH ABC
  • AMC
  • Bravo Now
  • BTN2GO
  • CNBC TV
  • DisneyNOW (includes Disney Junior, and Disney XD)
  • E! Now
  • WATCH ESPN
  • FOX NOW
  • FOX Sports GO
  • Freeform GO
  • FX Now (includes FX, FXX, FXM – Fox Movies)
  • IFC
  • NAT GEO TV
  • NBC
  • NBCSN (includes Golf Channel and the Olympic Channel)
  • NCAA March Madness
  • Oxygen Now
  • Showtime Anytime
  • Sundance TV
  • SYFY
  • Telemundo NOW
  • USA Network
  • WETV

Does YouTube TV offer a DVR?

And how! YouTube TV’s DVR is probably the best on the market. It features unlimited storage space, and it lets you hang onto your recordings for nine whole months. That gives YouTube TV a serious edge over other streaming services. You can also set up multiple users on your DVR, so your kids’ recordings can stay separate from yours.

How are YouTube TV’s video and audio quality?

Pretty darn good. YouTube TV’s streams are very reliable, with hardly any glitching or lagging. That’s pretty impressive considering YouTube TV offers 1080p resolution.

As far as sound quality goes, YouTube TV currently offers plain old stereo sound. That may be a deal breaker for cord-cutters who have heavily invested in surround sound, but we feel like it’s a pretty good trade-off considering all the other features and content you get with YouTube TV service.

What internet speed do you need for YouTube TV?

YouTube TV recommends a minimum internet speed of 3 Mbps in order to stream YouTube TV content.

However, you’ll need more if you plan to stream on multiple devices at once, want to stream in HD, or simply want to browse Facebook while watching TV. We recommend getting an internet plan with at least 20 Mbps of speed just to be safe.

Not sure your internet plan can handle streaming?

We’ve got you covered. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to the best internet plans for streaming. You can also enter your ZIP code here and see which internet providers are available in your area. Boom.

Can I watch YouTube TV on multiple devices simultaneously? How many streams does YouTube TV offer?

YouTube TV allows for simultaneous streaming on up to three devices at a time. So if you’re watching Sunday Night Football on the big-screen TV downstairs and your spouse is watching Bob’s Burgers on their phone, your kids can still watch Bubble Guppies on their tablet upstairs.

Is there a YouTube TV gift card?

There’s not currently a gift card specifically for YouTube TV. But you can pay for a subscription using Google Play gift cards, which are for sale online and in brick-and-mortar stores across the country. We just saw some in our local grocery store, so it shouldn’t be too hard to gift someone YouTube TV using this method.

How can you get YouTube TV?

Easy. Just visit the YouTube TV website to sign up for a free trial.

Learn more

Still not sure about YouTube TV? We get it—you want to make sure you’re making the right decision before you pull the trigger.

We’ve got you covered. For more information on the service, you can always check out YouTube TV’s website. Or you can check out our comprehensive comparisons where we put YouTube TV to the ultimate test, pitting it head-to-head against top competitors in the industry. Spoiler: it definitely holds its own.

Once you’re ready, just head on over to the YouTube TV site to sign up for your free trial. Enjoy!

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Courtenay Stevens

Courtenay has been a professional writer for nearly 7 years. She loves that she can now help people cut the cord by merging her affinity for writing with her passion for watching TV, talking about movies, and keeping up with her various fantasy sports teams.
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