If you’ve been on the fence over cutting the cord, YouTube might have just given you a reason to jump over. The Google-owned company has announced a new live and on-demand video service, but it's only available in limited markets for now.
Dubbed YouTube TV, the $35-per-month service offers access to around 40 TV networks, including ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and ESPN. It also includes unlimited cloud DVR storage. According to YouTube, the cloud DVR feature will let you simultaneously record as many shows as you want and store them for up to nine months. Every YouTube TV membership also comes with six accounts, each with its own personal DVR storage silo, and subscribers can watch up to three concurrent streams at once.
While the service includes a variety of popular channels—The CW, FX, USA, Bravo, Disney, and SyFy, among them—there a few notable holdouts. News junkies won’t be able to watch CNN, for instance, and The Walking Dead fans will need to go elsewhere to watch AMC. A&E, TBS, MTV, and TNT won’t be represented at launch, either, and while you will be able to add Showtime for an extra fee, HBO fans are out of luck.
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YouTube TV requires a separate subscription from YouTube Red, though the new streaming service provides access to all the same original programming. YouTube TV can be accessed on phones and tablets via an Android or iOS app, and can be streamed to TVs via Chromecast. It also integrates with Google Home for voice commands, but there is no word on support for Apple TV, Roku, or Android TV set-top boxes.
YouTube says the service will be available “in the largest U.S. markets” in the coming months and will “quickly” expand to more cities. No information was given about an international launch.
Something to see here: YouTube is a little late to the streaming game, but its content bundle is pretty enticing. There is certainly a lot of competition here with DirectTV Now, Hulu, Sling TV, and others, but YouTube has the name, channels, and features to make some serious inroads, provided the service has a quick roll-out across the U.S. The 9 months of cloud storage is particularly intriguing, besting PlayStation Vue’s 28-day limit.
Granted, there are a lot of questions—chief among them the quality of the streams—but YouTube has certainly crafted a compelling service that should make an immediate splash. And with Apple ever threatening to enter the space with its own service, it could be the start of another stage of the two companies’ ongoing battle for supremacy.