Google Launches YouTube TV

For $35 per month and no cost to cancel, subscribers can get more than 40 popular channels on phones, computers and TV.

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Consumers in multiple cities around the country will soon have another option for getting broadcast and cable TV service.

Google this week launched YouTube TV, a $35-per-month subscription service that will let users stream live content from more than 40 major cable and broadcast networks to their computers, mobile devices and TVs.

Among the networks that will be available on YouTube TV are ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, ESPN Fox Sports Network and several regional sports networks. Subscription to YouTube TV will also give users access to YouTube Red, the paid-for, ad-free service for watching YouTube videos.

For an as yet unspecified additional fee, subscribers can also get Showtime and Fox Soccer Plus. However, CNN is one major network that is conspicuous by its absence from the current lineup on YouTube TV.

YouTube TV will offer a cloud DVR service with no limits on storage. Subscribers will be allowed to record and store as much live TV or shows as they want in Google cloud for no additional charge. YouTube will store the recorded content by default for nine months.

Subscribers will be able to register up to six separate user accounts and watch three streams concurrently. Each account will come with its own set of viewing recommendations and unlimited DVR storage capabilities.

“You can watch YouTube TV on any screen—mobile, tablet or computer—and you can easily stream to your TV with a Google Chromecast or Chromecast built-in TV,” said Christian Oestlien, YouTube TV product management director, in a blog this week.

YouTube TV will be available on both Android and iOS devices. Users will be able to access their cloud-hosted DVR recordings and stream content to their devices from virtually anywhere with internet access and whenever they want it.

Google has not yet released a list of cities where the service will first become available. According to Oestlien, the plan is to launch the service in major U.S. cities initially and then roll it out quickly to the rest of the country. YouTube has set up a web page where consumers can register to get information on when the new service will become available in their areas.

When it launches, YouTube TV will become the latest to join the ranks of those offering so-called skinny bundles, or slimmed down, customizable TV channel packages that start at considerably lower subscription rates than the usual prepackaged subscription options with hundreds of channels.

One example is Dish Network’s Sling TV, an internet TV service that like YouTube Now lets subscribers stream a relatively narrow set of live TV channels to their mobile devices, computers and TVs. Sling TV’s bundles start at just $20 per month for a basic 30-channel lineup with the option to cancel at any time. Another example is AT&T’s DirectTV Now service that offers skinny bundles starting at $35 per month with the option to cancel any time.

The trend is being driven by consumers looking to trim cable costs by choosing live TV bundles that offer the channels they watch most frequently for a significantly lower cost than typical cable options.

Jaikumar Vijayan

Jaikumar Vijayan

Vijayan is an award-winning independent journalist and tech content creation specialist covering data security and privacy, business intelligence, big data and data analytics.