Google will announce today that it is expanding the YouTube TV channel lineup by about 20 percent. But it is also raising prices a bit too.
As I write this, Google’s official post revealing the changes isn’t yet available. But here’s what’s happening.
Google announced its cord-cutting YouTube TV service in March 2017, and the service went live in April with about 40 channels and a monthly cost of $35. But the big limitation at launch was that YouTube TV was only available in the biggest TV markets in the US.
Since then, Google has expanded the service numerous times. It added family-sharing functionality in May 2017, many new markets in July and August 2017. And then it finally came to TVs, with a new client for Xbox One in October 2017, followed more recently by clients for Apple TV, Roku, and other living room set-top boxes; previous to that, YouTube TV users had to navigate the service on their phones and then cast video to their TVs.
I could see early on that YouTube TV would likely emerge as the best cord-cutting service, and when we moved to Pennsylvania in August 2017, I began testing it and other services. Within a month or so, the awkwardness of using YouTube TV via the phone had become problematic, and the service didn’t provide access to HGTV, which my wife and I watch regularly. By October, I realized that the experiment was not working, and we admitted defeat, returning to cable TV.
(Premium members: I will have an update on this situation as soon as today, and coincidental to today’s YouTube TV news.)
But Google moves quickly. And it is improving YouTube TV yet again.
First, they are adding about 10 more channels: CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, TBS, TNT, truTV, and others are available now, according to reports, and others, like MLB Network and NBA TV, are coming soon (though it’s not clear what we get for free and what is a paid add-on).
And the service will soon be available in over 100 markets, a huge increase over last year. New markets include Lexington, Dayton, Honolulu, El Paso, Burlington, Plattsburgh, Richmond, Petersburg, Mobile, Syracuse, Champaign, Springfield, Columbia, Charleston, Harlingen, Wichita, Wilkes-Barre, and Scranton.
In the bad news department, the price of the service is going up, from $35 to $40 per month starting March 13. But it’s not clear if existing subscribers can keep the original price for some time. And the new price is in line with pricing from rival services like PlayStation Vue, which starts at $40 per month.
Worse, HGTV is still not available. How am I going to explain that to my wife?
Tagged with YouTube TV