Move over Netflix and step aside Amazon Prime Video. Google, who owns YouTube, just announced its own streaming service called YouTube TV. For $35 a month, subscribers will get access to live shows from over 40 different networks, ad-free videos and a DVR service with unlimited space.
It's not available yet but you can sign up to be notified when it launches in your area. The monthly price can support up to six accounts and you can access your account from your phone, tablet, computer or TV set. Plus, you can cancel at any time. Sounds great, right?
So what's the catch? Well for starters, with a basic satellite or cable subscription you can get so many more channels for just a little bit more money. Dish, a satellite service, offers 190 channels for $55 a month. DirecTV, a cable service, offers over 145 channels for $50 a month. Cable and satellite also give you the option to pay more for premium channels like HBO and several other cinema channels. Right now, the only available add-ons for YouTube TV are Showtime and FOX Soccer Plus.
Another caveat to the deal is that you need Google Chromecast or a TV with Chromecast built into it. Chromecast is a device you plug into your TV so that you can access the internet but you must control the TV with a smartphone, tablet or computer instead of the remote control. In this case, you would use the YouTube TV app (which will be available for Apple and Android) to select shows to watch.
As it stands right now, YouTube TV may not be the best bang for your buck. It's trying to take the live aspect of cable TV and combine it with a streaming service. It requires additional hardware like cable but you don't get as many channels. There is a large variety of videos available for streaming but the price is much higher than other services. (Netflix is $11.99 per month for four screens and Amazon's Prime Video is $8.99 a month for three screens.)
Despite these limitations, consumers may love the new service and flock to it. And Google will probably adjust the prices and perks based on customers' concerns and complaints. If I were you, I wouldn't be too quick to switch without weighing the options and crunching the numbers.
And don't get me wrong, YouTube itself is still a great, free service. Take a look at the tips and suggestions below to get the most out of the video sharing platform.