YouTube TV Isn’t Perfect, But It’s Very Promising

Image: Christina Warren/Gizmodo

Try as we might, we usually can’t cut a cord. For some-more than 5 years, I’ve attempted to wean myself off cable—for that we compensate $140 a month—in preference of a streaming-only solution. we usually can't live on Hulu and Netflix alone. Is YouTube TV my savior?


I know that with my absurd wire package I’m spending a lot of additional income on channels we don’t watch, though so far, a streaming TV bundles from a likes of Sling TV, DirecTV Now, and PlayStation Vue any have vital drawbacks. Sling TV is good in theory—offering entrance to internal channels, ESPN, and other large networks for usually $20 a month—but dual years after a launch, it still has buffering issues when personification behind renouned programs. DirecTV Now has a best channel selection, though a early tests with a apps showed a buggy experience, and a rudimentary pricing that done it so appealing is now gone. PlayStation Vue is flattering good, though we don’t have a PlayStation and a PlayStation Vue apps could use some love.

Now YouTube is in a live TV game with YouTube TV. For $35 a month, business in 5 cities (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco) get entrance to about 50 channels.

The YouTube TV lineup right now. Note that AMC, BBC America, IFC, etc. aren’t accessible now. YouTube says they’ll be accessible “soon.” (Image: YouTube)

Yet a channel preference leaves something to be desired. Having entrance to internal channels is excellent, and a several wire networks owned by NBC (USA, Syfy, CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo), ABC (Disney, ESPN, Freeform), and Fox (Fox News, FX, FXX, Nat Geo) are great, though not carrying any of a Time Warner/Turner networks (CNN, Cartoon Network, TBS) or Viacom networks (Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon) is a outrageous bummer. AMC Networks is fasten soon, definition subscribers will have entrance to AMC, Sundance, IFC, and We TV. 


Despite YouTube TV’s comparatively diseased channel selection, a rest of a use is refreshingly good built. The app is accessible on desktop around a web browser, as good as on iOS and Android. The desktop knowledge and a mobile apps are excellent. The interface is unequivocally identical to a existent YouTube app, with 3 tabs for Library, Home, and Live TV.

The YouTube TV interface on iOS (Screenshot: Christina Warren/Gizmodo)

When it comes to examination live programming, playback is exceptional. It creates clarity given YouTube has a lot of knowledge portion video during scale. Whether we was examination while watchful for a subway, in a cab, on a crappy wi-fi in a office, or in my apartment, we never had dropouts, and a app was automatically means to adjust calm peculiarity formed on my tie strength. we tested a use on a initial day of full operation, so it’s doubtful many people were regulating it during a same time, though YouTube TV did not have any of a buffering or tide peculiarity problems we’ve gifted on other services.

YouTube TV using in a web browser (Screenshot: Christina Warren/Gizmodo)

In further to live TV, one of a hallmark facilities of YouTube TV is a total cloud DVR. Simply crop shows or arriving programs and daub a “+” symbol to record a module when it airs. Recordings uncover adult in a library for playback after and episodes can be stored for adult to 9 months. When a uncover is accessible for playback, it does so though any ad breaks. YouTube TV doesn’t put any boundary on how many shows can be accessible during once or how many shows can be saved in a library, that creates this a good approach to entrance content.



Beyond recordings and live TV, a lot of on direct calm is accessible in a app, too. we watched past episodes of Riverdale or Bob’s Burgers, and even some (sadly edited) cinema that seemed on FXM. Going to a specific show’s page reveals what episodes are now accessible to watch, what episodes have already been stored in a user’s library, and what episodes are upcoming.

Yet’s there’s a large downside to YouTube TV: indeed examination it on a TV. Right now, a usually approach to play calm on your set is by a Chromecast or a Chromecast-enabled TV. And no, if your TV supports a reduction strong Google Cast protocol (as my TV does), that’s not enough. we had to make a disaster out of my unit to find a Chromecast buried in a drawer to get to my Riverdale. When we attempted to AirPlay calm to my Apple TV from a iPhone or iPad app, we was singular to audio-only playback, we assume since of whatever DRM Google had to put in a app.

It’s a outrageous bummer for a millions of people who have set-top boxes that aren’t Chromecasts. Google will give users who compensate for one month of use a giveaway Chromecast (they start during $35 otherwise), though if we already have a set tip box, that’s usually another device to burden adult an HDMI port. Does Google severely design me to keep a Chromecast plugged in for a singular app? Not going to happen.

Still, elements of YouTube TV feel like a future. It’s not utterly a holy grail partnership of live TV and on-demand calm like Hulu’s upcoming live product seems to be. YouTube’s channel preference isn’t as strong as what we get from DirecTV Now—but a vicious component, video playback, works intensely well. The apps are well-designed, and a cost of $35 a month is reasonable for people that are happy with internal channels, some wire favorites, and lots of sports. If YouTube TV can conduct to sign-up some-more vital wire networks and enlarge a playback options, this has genuine potential.


  • The miss of entrance to Turner/Time Warner channels is a outrageous bummer. we unequivocally wanted to rewatch a Rick and Morty premiere final night and had to use my wire box.
  • Viacom channels are also blank in movement (no Comedy Central, no MTV), though Viacom hates all of these bundles right now.
  • It’s not transparent if we can use YouTube TV as a TV Anywhere login in several TV apps; we reached out to YouTube for criticism and will refurbish if we hear back.
  • Content stored on a cloud DVR is blurb free, during slightest for now. That’s super nice.
  • The miss of AirPlay/third-party TV apps sucks.
  • YouTube claims that a vital room is “very important” for YouTube TV and that some-more device support will be available, “in a entrance months.”
  • You can have adult to 6 user accounts per form and tide from adult to 3 of them during one time.
  • YouTube Red calm is offering as a bonus, though nothing of a other facilities of YouTube Red (no ads on YouTube, entrance to Google Play Music) are included.

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