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With everyone looking for a way to cut the cord on their cable TV agreements, there’s been rising interest in the best live TV streaming services such as Hulu TV, Sling TV, DirecTV Stream, YouTube TV and the like. But with so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to figure out which service is actually the best for you and your lifestyle. To help you narrow your decision, we did some in-depth research on YouTube TV. In this guide, we will break down all the tidbits of YouTube TV so you can make a completely sound decision when picking your new live television subscription.
When reviewing a streaming service here at SPY, we evaluate it based on the most important components we think a live TV streaming platform should have:
- Quality of Content
- Overall Customer Experience/ User Interface
- Video Playback
With that in mind, I’ll give YouTube TV a rating out of five for each of these categories, and then explain my thoughts, complaints and feedback.
But if you’re just looking for the bottom line, here it is: YouTube TV is the frontrunner for the best live TV streaming service of 2021, and despite a few minor glitches, I strongly recommend YouTube TV as your top choice for live TV viewing.
YouTube TV provides a great lineup of live networks such as ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, as well as a bunch of sports networks. When it comes to live college and professional sports, YouTube TV is a great selection, offering options like ESPN, NBA TV, MLB Network and more, as well as access to local sports.
The service provides access to local channels so you can keep up with current events and sports in your area. There’s also the option of on-demand viewing just in case you forgot to set your DVR. This is limited to the programs YouTube TV makes available, but when selecting YouTube Premium videos, your streams are commercial-free.
Quality of Content: 4.5/5
YouTube TV allows you to stream content up to 1080p resolution, but quality can sometimes be sacrificed when viewing at higher resolutions. As a daily user, I really enjoy how quickly it streams content when changing channels and selecting new programming. It’s nearly flawless in this aspect, especially when compared to other services such as DirecTV Stream, which can lag and take a little longer to load. Overall, the quality of live viewing, DVR and On-Demand programming is great. However, there were times when viewing higher-resolution programs that the picture was not as clear as I had liked.
Overall Customer Experience/ User Interface: 4.5/5
Thanks to its easy-to-use layout, accessing programs on YouTube TV is pretty simple. What’s best is that it can link up with your existing YouTube account, letting you seamlessly sign in with your Gmail account. It additionally allows you to create six user profiles and stream on up to three devices at a time, including your phone, tablet or TV. This means it can travel with you wherever you go, which is an amazing feature, to say the least. While live TV is a fantastic offering, it’s important to take into account that you won’t be able to skip commercials and there’s no option for ad-free viewing with live or on-demand viewing.
Video Playback: 5/5
Viewers who record live programming frequently are definitely going to enjoy YouTube TV’s unlimited cloud DVR where you can record as much content as you’d like. This was such an easy category to score. I mean, unlimited cloud DVR? Who wouldn’t love that!?
With a base subscription price of $64.99 per month, YouTube TV is competitively set amongst similar live streaming services like Hulu TV and Fubo TV. It comes with over 85 channels and allows you to create six user profiles and stream on three devices at a time. This means you can essentially take your live TV with you wherever you go. There are also no contracts involved and you can cancel at any time, which is a major plus if you’re afraid of a long-term commitment. However, the price tag may feel a bit steep when comparing it to services with fewer offerings such as Sling TV.
If you’re willing to sacrifice channel selection in favor of lower pricing, we recommend trying Sling TV Blue at $35 a month.
Bottom Line: Is YouTube TV Worth the Money?
With unlimited cloud DVR, 85 channels, access to local programs, and more, YouTube TV is worth every penny of its nearly $65/month price tag. Use it to watch sports, movies, current television shows and events whenever you want.