Here is the service that Apple hoped to unveil with its latest Apple TV in late 2015: But Google today beat them to the punch in announcing YouTube TV.
“Consumers have made it clear that they want live TV without all the hassle,” Google product management director Christian Oestlien explains. “They don’t want to worry about their DVR filling up. They don’t want to miss a great game or their favorite show because they’re on the go. They tell us they want TV to be more like YouTube.”
Well, now it will be. At least according to Google.
“YouTube TV is live TV designed for the YouTube generation: Those who want to watch what they want, when they want, how they want, without commitments,” Google explains.
Here’s what YouTube TV offers:
Low-cost. Let’s get to the obvious first. YouTube TV costs $35 per month.
Availability. Unlike most new services, which tend to be US-based, YouTube is even more limited: When it launches “soon,” it will be available only “in the largest U.S. markets” at first, and will then “quickly expand to cover more cities across the country.” Visit the YouTube TV website to sign-up to be notified when the service is available in your area.
Live TV streaming from numerous (US-based) networks. ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and ESPN have all signed up, as have dozens of popular cable networks (USA, FX, The Disney Channel, Sprout, E!, and others) and regional sports networks like Fox Sports Networks and Comcast SportsNet. (The latter makes local sports possible, which is a key concern.) There are over 40 channels in all.
Live TV streaming from additional premium channels. You can also pay extra for additional premium channels like Showtime and Fox Soccer Plus. It’s not clear yet what the fee is there, but I assume each will be in the $10 to $15 range per month.
Unlimited cloud-based DVR. Google isn’t putting a cap on what you can record, because it’s all in the cloud. “Your cloud DVR can record as many shows as you want, simultaneously, without using precious data or space on your phone and we’ll store each of your recordings for nine months,” the firm says.
Multi-screen access. YouTube TV will work on any screen: Your HDTV, your smartphone, your tablet, or your PC. “You can easily stream to your TV with a Google Chromecast or Chromecast built-in TV,” Google notes. “YouTube TV works on both Android and iOS. And your cloud DVR goes with you, so you can stream your recordings on any device, whenever and wherever you want.”
Original content. Since it’s all the rage these days, YouTube has followed in the footsteps of Netflix and is offering original content through YouTube Red Originals. Which you get for free as part of your YouTube TV subscription.
Six accounts. A YouTube TV membership comes with six separate accounts, each with its own unique recommendations and personal DVR with no storage limits. “You can watch up to three concurrent streams at a time,” Google says.
OK, this sounds very interesting. I am very interested in testing this, but I wonder if living in a secondary market like Boston means I will have to wait.