YouTube is becoming ThemTube. The video hosting site that first got big featuring random videos from random people is now getting into pay TV thanks to the cord-cutting trend. Announced today, YouTube TV is a streaming television service that will include over 40 channels for $35 per month, plus unlimited cloud DVR.
It looks like Google is getting its start in streaming TV by focusing on the basics. All four major networks — ABC, Fox, NBC, and the ever-elusive CBS — are all here (CBS All Access, another streaming service, will remain separate). CBS in particular is a big get, with many other streaming services like Sling TV and DirecTV Now yet to offer live streaming of the network (Hulu, which plans to launch its own service this year, has a deal in place with CBS). You can see the full list of channels below, but it’s limited to those major networks plus the cable channels under the same ownership groups — for example, ESPN, which along with ABC is owned by Disney.
The network deals will also include live streaming sports, although for the NFL, local restrictions could still apply. YouTube TV will work on TVs, smartphones, tablets, and PCs, but for set-top boxes and sticks, it looks like they’re only promising support for Chromecast — no big surprise there. Once again, there are restrictions related to football — Verizon has an exclusive on streaming NFL games to smartphones. NFL games can be watched on any other kind of device, but if you’re looking to sneak a peek while you’re stuck somewhere you’d rather not be, a YouTube TV subscription won’t help you.
The cost is a flat $35 per month, and there are no pricing tiers available as of yet. That $35 per month also includes YouTube Red Originals, YouTube’s original programming that had been exclusively available to YouTube Red subscribers. YouTube Red, which includes those originals and enables background play of YouTube music and videos on mobile devices, is currently $10 per month, but hasn’t become competitive with the likes of Spotify or Apple Music.
The most tantalizing feature of YouTube TV is the unlimited cloud DVR. Google hasn’t mentioned any channel restrictions, and live TV can be saved for up to nine months on Google’s servers. If reality matches paper, it’s the best DVR offering of any streaming TV service thus far.
A single subscription will also come with six accounts, all of which will get their own recommendations. Considering that recommendation will be powered by algorithms of Google’s devising, it’s another pretty stellar feature, especially for families. The only downside is that only three streams can be going on at once.
YouTube TV will start its phased rollout now, gradually coming to more and more markets across the nation. You can keep an eye on their new site and sign up for a notification when YouTube TV becomes available in your area.
Header image: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for YouTube