YouTube TV officially launched yesterday in several markets including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, and Philadelphia. More markets will come soon, according to a press release.
YouTube TV is the latest of many OTT cord cutting options that closely resemble a traditional pay-TV service. These services have come to be known as virtual MVPDs, or vMVPDs. YouTube TV joins Sling TV, DIRECTV NOW, PlayStation Vue, and others.
Channel Line-Up & Features
YouTube TV pricing starts at $35 per month and includes a 40 channel line-up, cloud DVR, and on-demand content. The service provides access to local broadcast channels in owned and operated markets for ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. More channels are coming soon, including AMC, BBC America, IFC, Sundance TV, WE tv, and BBC World News, the company reports in a press release.
Regional sports networks are also offered. But key content is missing, including Turner and Discovery networks. Showtime is the only premium network offered for now. Original programming through YouTube Red Originals is also offered.
YouTube claims unlimited storage for its cloud DVR, but programs are automatically deleted after 9 months. Cloud DVR service has become a battleground in the competitive vMVPD space. Sling TV has cloud DVR in beta, while PlayStation Vue and fuboTV offer the service today. DIRECTV NOW says cloud DVR is on its roadmap.
YouTube TV appears to be taking a mobile first approach, with emphasis on Android and iOS devices. Currently, the only option to get it to the big screen TV is through Google’s own Chromecast. YouTube says other traditional streaming devices like Roku and Apple TV will be supported sometime in the future.
YouTube TV is also encouraging sharing of the service with friends and family, A single account allows for up to six user profiles, all of whom can access the service — although only three simultaneous streams are allowed per single account.
YouTube TV stacks up well against its vMVPD competitors, with the limited channel line-up and limited device availability probably their weakest links. The cloud DVR, multiple user profiles, all local broadcast networks, and $35 price point may provide some competitive advantage.
The vMVPD market will only get more competitive, as offers from Hulu and CenturyLink are expected soon. Rumors of others from Verizon and possibly Comcast persist as well.