YouTube TV Review

This month, I finally did it. I inched my way back into the world of live TV by signing up for YouTube TV. The main reason? I wanted to watch BYU games more easily, and this was the simplest way to do it.

I didn’t just jump into YouTube TV, however. I took some time to figure out which live TV service would work the best for me. I considered a number of different ones: YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, Cable, and Satellite. It took some time to slog through all the different features to find out which would work the best for me, but in the end, YouTube TV won out, and I’ve been very happy with it. What gave it the edge?

First off, I love being able to cancel or pause the subscription at any time. Cable and satellite come with physical alterations to my house, and to get the good deals, they usually come with longterm contracts. Back when I had satellite nine years ago, I had the basic subscription to Dish, which was costing me $50/month. These days that basic package looks like it’s more like $60, but I knew either way that I had no interest in signing up with another physical service. Not unless it was cost prohibitive to go with one of the streaming ones, which it wasn’t.

YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, and Sling TV all have fairly evenly matched offerings. This article was helpful in breaking them down. In the end, YouTube just won out because

  • It’s the same price as the others: $40/month. (Sling has a $25/month offer, but it’s limited in channels I’d want)
  • It offers all my local channels. (I live in a remote enough area that there are a number of channels I could never get over the air with an antenna.)
  • It has a ton of channels for live sports included in the normal package.
  • It has unlimited DVR storage (though you only keep recordings for 9 months. Whatever.)
  • It has a solid stream I can rely on. (Not always a guarantee when my internet is 13mbps.)
  • It lets you pause your subscription for up to 6 months at a time, even letting you keep your DVR recordings there for when you unpause.
  • It works great with my AppleTV.

So that was enough to get me to pull the trigger and commit. (Though since I didn’t have to sign any longterm contract, “commitment” just means I paid for one month and can stop whenever I’d like.)

Now that I’ve used it for a few weeks, I’m very happy with the service. For one thing, I can tell it what sports teams I like to watch, and it will automatically record all their games. When BYU plays at 10pm at night, this DVR ability is very handy. You can skip through commercials very easily, and it automatically records the whole game, even if the game goes long. The picture is clear, even at my slower-than-many internet speed. (Apologies to friends who have even slower speeds. I feel your pain.)

I even watched the Emmys Monday evening. It was so nice to just be able to turn the AppleTV on and get the live show. No need to drive to friend’s house!

Bottom line: if you’re paying for internet anyway, and your TV package is $40 or more per month, I would seriously look into switching to YouTube TV. I’d guess you’d want at least 7mbps internet speed for it to really work, but they’ll let you try it out for a while for free, so you could do that first to make sure it works.

When the BYU football season is over, will I pause my subscription for a while? That remains to be seen. There is, after all, BYU basketball season. But in any case, I’m happy with the service so far and can readily recommend it to others.

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