There are more than 100 YouTube TV channels available today. That includes your local broadcast networks from ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, as well as many traditional cable networks and regional programming. YouTube TV is available in more than 98 precent of American households.
So if you're considering YouTube TV channels and considering YouTube TV as your streaming solution of choice — and it really comes down to YouTube TV vs. Hulu these days — it's definitely worth a look. And it's also worth your time to peruse the myriad options YouTube TV presents.
The good news is it won't take long. There is but one plan for YouTube TV. One flat price. That's it.
YouTube TV costs $64.99 a month. (After a YouTube TV free trial, of course.) OK, plus tax. But that's it. You don't have to figure out which channels you get with which options. Just a single monthly fee (again, plus tax), and you get what you get.
And, yes, that price is higher than what it used to be. YouTube TV announced a $15 price hike on June 30, 2020, and it went into effect immediately. But there also also are more YouTube TV channels than ever before.
And if you're looking to spend even more money, there's now a "4K Plus" option for YouTube TV. It doesn't enable 4K resolution across the board. At launch (in late June 2021), the 4K options include seven channels — Discovery, ESPN, Fox Sports, FX, Nat Geo, NBC Sports, and Tastemade. And Google says it'll stream some live sports in 4K resolution later in the summer from ESPN and NBC.
The 4K Plus add-on indeed is a premium option. It'll cost $9.99 a month for the first 12 months, and then $19.99 a month after that. You do get 30 days free to try things out, though.
Just like other streaming services, YouTube TV doesn't have any contracts, so you can pause or cancel at any point without penalty. And while it doesn't have as many channels as some of the other services (mainly Sling TV, which has lower prices but more options, and AT&T TV Now, which has a slew of more expensive plans), it's still highly competitive, with local channels available through streaming, and a free, unlimited cloud-based DVR.
And if you decide to go with YouTube TV, you'll find yourself in good company. The service has more than 3 million subscribers as of October 2020 and is basically as big as the other major players in the space. YouTube TV's parent company, Google, doesn't give updates on subscriber count as much as the other services do, however, so there's a lack of fidelity there. We know that it had more than 2 million subscribers at the end of 2019, and 3 million just nine months later.
YouTube TV also has continued to add new add-on options. HBO Max is available for the first time, as is Showtime. And there's also a new Sports Plus option with NFL RedZone, Fox Soccer Plus and more. And in November 2020, YouTube TV added an option for Hallmark Movies Now. It also now has most of the major ViacomCBS channels, including Comedy Central, MTV and BET.
And starting April 6, 2021, T-Mobile subscribers can get YouTube TV for $10 off each month.
Does YouTube TV have a free trial?
Like virtually every other streaming service in the United States, YouTube TV has a free trial period. That lets you test things out before you pay anything.
YouTube TV generally has a seven-day free trial period, which should be more than enough time to make sure that it's something you want to pay for. But we've also seen YouTube TV offer up extended trial periods of two weeks or more. It just depends on if you catch them at a good time.
Either way, the cool part is you get all the same channels with YouTube TV free trial period as you would with a paid subscription.
You're also able to take advantage of the free trial period that any add-on premium services — like HBO Max or Showtime or the like — has available. So be sure to do that.
What you need to know about YouTube TV and Roku
All that said, there's been a recent dust-up between YouTube TV and Roku that you need to know about. It's important because YouTube TV is the second-largest live TV streaming service in the United States, and Roku is the No. 1 streaming Platform in the United States.
Here's the timeline:
- April 26, 2021: Roku emails customers, warning that "Google may remove your access to YouTube TV" over stalled negotiations between the two companies. Roku accused Google of demanding "unfair terms" that "could harm our users." Google called the accusations baseless.
- April 30, 2021: Roku hides YouTube TV from its Channel Store, meaning if you don't already have it on your Roku device, you won't be able to download it as a new customer. Later in the day, Google pens a blog post detailing its side of the story and says Roku terminated the deal "in bad faith."
- May 7, 2021: Google builds a workaround into its YouTube app on Roku, letting users use that app to access YouTube TV. So far, Roku hasn't retaliated.
Who's right and who's wrong? We don't really know. This is one of those annoying times in which two companies that should be working together (or not) to find a way to serve both their customers failed to come to an agreement and have dragged the end user — the paying customer — into the fray with a nakedly emotional ploy.
The good news? You have good options to replace both Roku and YouTube TV.
Or maybe you just need a VPN?
YouTube TV is great! But if you're trying to watch something from the United States but have found yourself outside the country, a VPN might be the right way to make sure you can watch what you want to watch.
A virtual private network tunnels all of your computer's network traffic through a specific set of servers in a specific country. And any VPN worth its salt is going to have servers in countries all over the world, so you watch what you want to watch no matter where you are.
The trick is that you need to be able to trust your VPN because it'll be handling all of your network traffic. And for that, we highly recommend ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN makes it easy to watch your favorite sports and shows no matter where you are, because it makes it possible for your internet traffic to be routed through your home country — even if you're on the road somewhere.
It's safe, it's secure, it's easy to use, and it's got a free trial, so you can make sure it's the right VPN for you. (Hint: It will be.)View Deal
YouTube TV alternatives
If you're looking for the latest on the other live TV streaming services that compete with YouTube TV, we've got you covered.
And you've got a lot of options here, at various price points. Hulu With Live TV is the most popular of any of the services — it's the only one that's bigger than YouTube TV.
FuboTV is another new favorite YouTube TV alternative. It's priced similarly to YouTube TV, and has a comparable list of channels. Its premium add-ons place a special emphasis on sports, and it's one of the only ways to watch the occasional sporting event in 4K resolution in the United States.
Here's what we think you should take a look at if you're looking at something other than YouTube TV:
The latest news on YouTube TV
YouTube TV doesn't change things up too often. Occasionally it will offer free previews of premium channels like Showtime or HBO — or even NFL RedZone. And YouTube TV has tended to increase its monthly subscription fees every couple of years, in line with other services.
So if you're looking for the latest YouTube TV news, we'll have it here on the rare occasion that there's news to share.
- Sept. 15, 2021: YouTube TV adds Univision, UniMás and Galavisión to its channel lineup.
- June 30, 2021: The Newsy channel is no longer available on YouTube TV.
- June 28, 2021: You can now get a "4K Plus" option on YouTube TV.
- June 17, 2021: There's a free trial of HBO, HBO Max and Cinemax on YouTube TV through June 21.
- June 3, 2021: YouTube TV is finally coming to Vizio SmartCast
- May 6, 2021: YouTube TV is now on PlayStation 5
- March 17, 2021: The missing ViacomCBS channels are now live on YouTube TV.
- Feb. 18, 2021: YouTube TV now has a new "Entertainment bundle" that saves you $5 on HBO Max, Showtime and STARZ.
- Nov. 30, 2020: YouTube TV announced it was losing the Tennis Channel
YouTube TV Channels, Add-ons, Sports Plus and more
YouTube TV has a number of premium add-on channels available. These are channels that require an extra fee outside of your usual YouTube TV cost. But this is the best way to get uncut and uncensored movies on YouTube TV.
Subscriptions and billing are handled directly within YouTube TV itself, and the channels appear in the main YouTube TV guide. And that's cool because it lets you move things around and put them as high up in the list as you like. (Here's how to edit your YouTube TV channels.)
The list of premium channels on YouTube TV includes the following:
- ALLBLK ($5/month)
- AMC+ ($7/month)
- Acorn TV ($6/month)
- Cinemax ($10/month)
- CuriosityStream ($3/month)
- EPIX ($6/month)
- HBO ($15/month)
- HBO Max ($15)
- Hallmark Movies Now ($6/month)
- IFC Films Unlimited ($6/month)
- MLB.TV ($25/month or $130/year)
- NBA League Pass ($40/month)
- STARZ ($9/month)
- Showtime ($11/month)
- Shudder ($6/month)
- Sundance Now ($7/month)
- WE tv+ ($6/month)
New in the summer of 2021 is the addition of a "4K Plus" option. That gets you content from a number of channels — seven at launch — in 4K resolution. There are caveats, though. Not every show is in 4K, and what shows you will be able to watch in 4K will depend on the hardware you're using to watch.
It's also not cheap — the 4K Plus plan costs $9.99 a month for the first 12 months, then $19.99 a month afterward.
At launch, the seven channels available in 4K include:
- Fox Sports
- Nat Geo
- NBC Sports
YouTube TV includes channels like ESPN, NFL Netflix and the Fox Sports channels. And it also also now has a Sports Plus premium add-on. This will get you seven additional sports channels that put an emphasis on some international sports and things that you normally won't find in the United States.
For $10.99 a month you can also get the following as part of a package:
- NFL RedZone
- Fox College Sports
- Fox Soccer Plus
- MAVTV Motorsports Network
And in February 2021, YouTube TV added the "Entertainment Plus" bundle for $29.99 a month. It gives you HBO Max, Showtime and STARZ, which normally would cost you $35 a month if you got each separately.
What YouTube TV channels are available?
YouTube TV channels come in a single plan, so you get the same channels as everyone else. (It's possible there are regional restrictions.) There aren't any separate packages, per se (other than the sports premium mentioned above), so what you see is what you get. (Unless you hide some of the channels, which is a perfectly OK thing to do.)
YouTube TV also doesn't really organize its channels in any particular way, save for your local affiliates appearing up top. Anything new is added to the bottom, and from there it's up to you to rearrange things as you see fit.
You do have the option to show your channels either in the "default" order (which, presumably, is YouTube TV and Google predicting what you're going to be most likely to watch), or you can have a custom view, with channels in whatever order you prefer.
Here are the YouTube TV channels available to most subscribers:
ABC, ABC News Live, ACC Network, AMC, Animal Planet, BBC America, BBC World News, BET, BET Her, Bravo, BTN, BTN Overflow, Cartoon Network, CBS, CBS Sports Network, Cheddar News, CMT, CNBC, CNBC World, CNN, Comedy Central, Comet TV, Court TV, Cozi, Dabl, Discovery Channel, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, E!, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPNU, Food Network, Fox, Fox Business, Fox News, Freeform, FS1, FS2, FX, FXM, FXX, Galavisión, Golf Channel, HGTV, HLN, ID, IFC, Local Now, MLB Game of the Week, MLB Network, MLB Network Alternate, MotorTrend, MSNBC, MTV, MTV Classic, MTV2, Nat Geo, Nat Geo Wild, NBA TV, NBC, NBC News Now, NBCLX, NBCSN, NewsNation, Newsy, NFL Network, Nick Jr., Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, Olympic Channel, OWN, Oxygen, Paramount, PBS, PBS Kids, Pop, QVC, SEC Network, Smithsonian Channel, Start TV, Sundance TV, SYFY, Tastemade, TBS, Teen Nick, Telemundo, TLC, TNT, Travel Channel, TruTV, Turner Classic Movies, TV Land, TYT Network, UniMás, Universal Kids, Universo, Univision, USA, VH1, WE TV
Phil spent his 20s in the newsroom of the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, his 30s on the road for AndroidCentral.com and Mobile Nations, is the Dad part of Modern Dad, and is editor of WhatToWatch.com.
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