YouTube TV is Finally Coming to TVs

Posted on October 31, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Music + Videos, Smart Home with 33 Comments

YouTube TV is Finally Coming to TVs

Google’s YouTube TV is a great option for cord-cutters, but it’s suffered from one major and obvious flaw: There’s never been an elegant way to get that content on your—wait for it—TV. But that’s about to change.

“Since the launch of YouTube TV in April, you’ve streamed live sports, local and national news, and can’t-miss shows on your phone, tablet, and computer,” the Official YouTube Blog notes. “Now, we’re psyched to announce our new YouTube TV app, made for the big screen.”

I know. You’re thinking, this doesn’t make any sense. How could Google launch a service called YouTube and not make it available on TVs? But that’s what they did: To date, you’ve been able to use a YouTube TV mobile app on Android or iOS, or the YouTube TV website on your Mac or PC. But if you wanted to get it up on the big screen—that HDTV or 4K/UHD set in the living room—you were on your own. You could use a technology like Chromecast (Android, Chrome on Mac/PC), Miracast (PC), or AirPlay (via Apple TV) to stream the content from the device to the screen.

Well, that nightmare is finally coming to a close. “In the next few days,” Google will issue YouTube TV apps for a variety of living room set-top boxes, including Android TV (including NVIDIA SHIELD), and Xbox One (all models). And “in the coming weeks,” Google will deliver YouTube TV apps for LG, Samsung, and Sony smart TVs, plus Apple TV. Frankly, Google should have led the way with these apps.

If you’ve been following along with my “tech makeover” series for Premium readers, you know that I’ve had a terrible time with cord-cutting apps like PlayStation Vue, Hulu with Live TV, and YouTube TV. And that the issue with YouTube TV, in particular, was the inelegant way it works with the TV: There’s no way to browse the guide with a remote or do any of the normal stuff one might expect from a TV-like solution.

So that’s about to change, which is great. But to give Google a bit of credit, it did rescue us on Sunday night when we wanted to watch The Walking Dead and discovered that PlayStation Vue, which I thought was good through the end of October, had been shut off. So we did use it, off my Android phone and a Chromecast to watch the show. And it was OK.

But here’s an irony alert: The cable guy is arriving today to install a TiVo-powered RCN cable box. My cord-cutting experiment, for now at least, is over. And these YouTube TV apps are arriving too late.


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Comments (33)

33 responses to “YouTube TV is Finally Coming to TVs”

  1. Simard57

    if the Tivo-powered RCN box is based on the Roamio - you can add a remote to use voice search to it. Ask the RCN guy!

    of course - the s/w has to be upgraded and I wonder if RCN controls that or if Tivo does....

    buying your own box may be worthwhile and less costly than renting one - but may take a longer commitment than you are willing to make

  2. Bats

    What exactly did Paul mean when he said "There’s never been..." and "YouTube TV has never offered...". The tone makes it seem as YouTube TV has been around for years rather than just 5 months. Lol...and I thought Paul Thurrott says he doesn't do click bait.

    Google TV offers the best value of all the cord cutting services. All this channels including live sports, unlimited DVR, YouTube Red, family sharing, international use (VPN).

    What's funny is that Paul quit too soon. With YouTube TV he could've shared his account with his family including his college kids. Not just that, but with all the places he goes to with Brad, he could brought his living room TV with him in his pocket. But...he didn't, all because of an HGTV show that he can easily get and cast to his TV? Tech is supposed to make lives easier, how the heck does Paul make it seem so hard?

    • George Rae

      lots of incorrect info in your post. Not complete YouTube red subscription, ads and no music. If you travel no locals, depending on location different networks. Casting isn’t reliable especially on IOS.

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to Bats:

      You might quibble with the use of the word "never", but isn't the headline the opposite of clickbait? You actually get the essential story without even needing to click.

      For future reference, per Wikipedia: "Clickbait is a pejorative term for web content whose main goal is to get users to click on a link to go to a certain webpage. Clickbait headlines typically aim to exploit the "curiosity gap", providing just enough information to make readers curious, but not enough to satisfy their curiosity without clicking through to the linked content." And the worst clickbait doesn't even really deliver on the promise of the headline.

  3. rlbumpus

    TiVo has had a YouTube app for sometime, though the interface could use some work.

  4. Jeffsters

    I have ZERO interest in using ANY apps on ANY TV. Apps that will NEVER be thanks! Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, or Chromcast.

  5. ecumenical

    It really comes down to how much TV each person watches. For me these services have been a lifesaver because I really only care about watching during football season, so it saves me 8 months of cable bill. But I think if you watch a lot of TV across different channels, then PS Vue, YouTube TV etc. probably still feel a little half baked.

  6. glenn8878

    What about Roku?

  7. rmlounsbury

    I would love to drop cable and go all in with a streaming platform. The YouTube platform with this announcement makes the most sense because it gives me local broadcast station (something virtually no one else does) so no futzing with antennas. Our local PBS station has a fantastic Apple TV app to fill that void. Of course, there is always one or two channels not offered by one of these services that we watch regularly. Then, of course, there is the issue of some local sports team I can't catch w/o cable. In this case the local NBA team (Portland Trailblazers) have signed their souls over to Comcast and I'll never get the local channel that carries them on a platform like YouTube TV because; Comcast. The other insanely frustrating thing here is something like the Pac12 Network. Sling has it but none of the broadcast locals while YouTube has the broadcast locals but no Pac12 Network (though it appears they are adding locals).

    So I get about 90% of the way there between Netflix, YouTube TV, and the Apple TV (Or Chromecast/Android TV if you prefer). Of course that is where the other problem surfaces and that is the fact that Comcast discounts based on bundling. For that first year you might be able to 150-200 meg service for $50 or $60 a month plus the cost for streaming services you'll be around $105-$130 or so. However, after that first year of service that cost for internet only will balloon to $75-$80 a month and now you'll be paying $120-$160 a month depending upon you various subscription services. At that point Comcast can pretty much guarantee they can give you a better deal for Cable + Internet + Services you don't want or need.

    So, I pretty much have thrown in the towel on cable cutting much like Paul has. I didn't do it because I didn't like the services or felt they had bad interfaces (though many lack a true guide to find shows on live). I did it because at the end of the day Comcast will eventually be cheaper and it has the one thing I can't get anywhere else (Comcast Sports + Blazer games) plus the one thing that I can't get on the service that ticks all the boxes save for that one (Pac12 Network).

    Ultimately I'd love to get a true ala carte service option which still doesn't exist.

    • alscott

      I used Hulu for about 4 months, I get access to local ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC.

      • rmlounsbury

        In reply to alscott:

        It all depends on your market. I checked Hulu & Sling and they do both offer FOX & NBC affiliates now on demand only; not live. Neither offer the ABC or CBS affiliate. So kudos to you for living in a market that streaming services are offering all the local affiliates.

        The reality for MANY people is that most streaming platforms do not offer all local affiliates if any at all.

  8. suhailali

    The YouTube TV app seems to be a PWA app. I think with Microsoft along with Google supporting PWA it makes sense that Xbox was the first device to support the application simply because Xbox probably has most of the PWA technology already in place. I'm interested in trying out the application just to see how rich of an experience the application is based on PWA.

  9. Lauren Glenn

    I tried (what seems like) all of these streaming services. PS Vue was the best deal with the most channels I liked and a good DVR that was reliable (much better than it was when I first started out with it)..... DirecTV has no DVR, YouTubeTV has no TBS/TNT, etc. , no one has Comedy Central but SlingTV whose DVR is flaky and DirecTV with no DVR......

    In the end, I would've saved money by just getting cable TV and my Tivo while having a much easier time watching TV. OK, maybe cable was a little more expensive but the picture was much better and there was much less frustration.

    Plus since it's a Roamio, I can stream all my shows over cellular and/or take them with me by letting it compress the video to a mobile version on the fly..... and it has 6 tuners in it so I never miss anything anyway.

    • Nicholas Kathrein

      In reply to alissa914g:

      I have youtube TV and only feel like i'm missing TNT/TBS as well for sports. If it only had that I'd be extreemly happy with it. At the moment I'm just happy and with the app coming to the Nvidia Shield TV I think i'll just go buy that box which has everything I need with Kodi, Amazon Prime, and Youtube TV with 4k HDR.

      Come on Google. Get us TNT/TBS.

  10. JerryH

    Chromecast does not stream from the device to the TV. Chromecast gets instructions from the phone / tablet including a link and authentication token and then the Chromecast does the streaming itself. This is very different from the device doing the streaming like when you use Miracast. If the device is doing the streaming your device gets warm and the battery discharges rapidly. And, if the user leaves the stream ends. With Chromecast none of that happens. Very different technologies.

  11. John Rubino

    I never quite understood what your issue was with PlayStation. I use it on my Amazon Fire and it works great stable easy to get around easier to look at channels on the guide.

  12. Chris_Kez

    No mention of Roku or Playstation. Thinking Face

    • timothyhuber

      In reply to Chris_Kez

      I've seen Roku mentioned elsewhere (link below). I haven't seen the actual announcement but this does reference "official list of devices" and coming by the end of 2017.

      • Chris_Kez

        In reply to timothyhuber:

        Thanks. There were a lot of comments on the official YouTube blog post asking why Roku wasn't included. Google should probably go back and update that announcement post.

        • timothyhuber

          In reply to Chris_Kez:

          I'd be interested as to where the referenced "official list of devices" came from, particularly given the emphatic questions about Roku in the blog comments and the lack of any response.

          Kudos to the team for the accuracy of their reporting.

  13. Jules Wombat

    Eh What ? Not clear whats new here. Am confused

    We have had YouTube Video Apps on Virgin Media Set Tops (Cable service depended) and/or Smart TVs (any wireless Internet) in the UK for about five years. We have never have needed to cast YouTube from a PC or Tablet for a long time.

    • Nicholas Kathrein

      In reply to Jules_Wombat:

      So the confusion is YouTube for you. There is YouTube and there is YouTube TV. YouTube TV is a whole new service in the U.S. It's a cable tv provider from Google. It takes the YouTube infrastructure to be your DVR. It's very good but only worked on phones and tablets and made you chromecast from the app to get it on the TV since they didn't yet have an app for Android TV or Apple TV.

      • Stooks

        In reply to Nicholas_Kathrein:

        Well actually there is...


        YouTube Red

        YouTube Music

        YouTube TV

        Google Play Music

        Google Play Video

        Google Play Books

        Each has its own app.

        So yes there is confusion. I like these offerings but they seriously need to do some consolidation of apps and services. Potential customers that are not tech savvy just walk away. I would think they could collapse all of the video into one app and same for the music.

        • Nicholas Kathrein

          In reply to Stooks:

          Oh it's not that bad. Youtube Music and Google play music are really music services. One more video focused and the other more audio focused. They will be merged at some point. Google Play books doesn't have anything confusing in it. It's where you buy books to read in digital form. Youtube red is a premium version of Youtube where the ads are removed and they even added some premium content (mostly from youtube creators) but many don't care much about that.

          Google Play Video is where you rent or buy videos. I think Google is ahead of Apple on this. Apple has iTunes and Apple Music. iTunes is kinda old so they don't want to use it for their new stuff like new shows they want to product / make so currently they have to shove it in Apple Music. So dumb.

          Once Google combines Google play music with Youtube Music and Youtube Red then your left with that one service plus Google Play Video, and Google Play Books. Sounds good to me. You Even now Youtube Red comes with Youtube Music and Google Play music for the same prince other services charge just for music. I pay for the family plan and get up to 5 accounts for 14.99 that get music streaming plus commercial free Youtube. Best value in music streaming services bar none!

          • Stooks

            In reply to Nicholas_Kathrein:

            Yeah I know you are a total Google fanboy so it might be hard to see that having so many apps and services to consume Google digital content (video, audio, books) is confusing to most people. It is even worse in some cases. If you subscribe to Google Play music you get Youtube Red and vise versa. Different apps, different target audiences but linked if you get one or the other. Explaining that to people is confusing enough.

            At least Apple only has three distinct apps for consuming content, one for video, music and books.

            iTunes is on its way out and is a hold over until they get there. You purchase songs or purchase/rent movies through it. Apple Music is a streaming service. I would imagine they will retire iTunes at some point and you will buy music through the Apple music app and rent/buy movies through the video app. That said it may be a while for iTunes on PC/Mac to go away. How many iPod's are still in use? That is a legacy problem Apple has from the success of those devices and only Apple has this problem.

            • Nicholas Kathrein

              In reply to Stooks:

              So you believe telling people to go to Apple music to get movies isn't confusing? I think it is. Also most people want more apps with a specific purpose that an app that does all. iTunes is already a cluster with everything from video to music in it. Apps get confusing when you put to much different content in it.

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to Jules_Wombat:

      This article is about the YouTube TV service, not YouTube.

  14. snapch23

    We all just want the youtube unblocked to get unblocked videos for youtube.