YouTube launches TV service

Carla Harmon
April 9, 2017

YouTube's live TV-streaming service can be accessed by users in five U.S. locations today: New York, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Google is targeting viewers who have never subscribed to cable or satellite TV and are just as happy to get all their video from the internet; getting them to cough up $35 a month could be a hard sell. In total, YouTube TV provides access to more than 50 channels. The service will initially be offered on smartphones, tablets and Web browers along with support for the Chromecast streaming adapter and TVs with built-in Chromecast technology.

And it includes channels we might actually watch.

"This is such a new marketplace", YouTube VP content partnerships Kelly Merryman tells Billboard.

As we heard back in February, YouTube TV takes some of the biggest TV networks and packages them all together in one big streaming bundle that costs $35 per month. There's also access to YouTube Red Originals included within the subscription. At launch, live streams of networks (like ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox) and cable channels (USA, FX, MSNBC, Disney Channel and ESPN) are available. Other channels, like Sundance Now and Shudder, will also be available soon for an additional fee. This is the primary benefit over some of the competing services such as DIRECTV Now, Sony's Vue, and Dish's Sling. For now, that's the only way to get YouTube TV on a TV, since there aren't yet apps for connected TV devices.

Since most channel numbers and names are meaningless in a digital world, YouTube TV arranges live channels by topic, starting with broadcast networks, sports, youth-oriented channels, then everything else. Your account will save all those shows for nine months before the oldest content is deleted, but that still gives you much more time than any other live TV-streaming service to catch up. With that in mind, Google is now offering a free Chromecast to subscribers after their first month's payment, while supplies last. For the moment, YouTube Go is still only available in India. Up to six accounts can be created under a subscription, allowing it to be used by an entire family, with up to three streams viewable at a time. Are you waiting for the service to debut in your city?

You can watch YouTube TV on your computer, mobile device or on a TV using a Chromecast device or on an Android TV.

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