YouTube TV, the new online TV service from the Google-owned OTT giant, went live Wednesday in a handful of markets – New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco/Bay Area, Chicago and Philadelphia -- with more U.S. cities to be added to the launch list “soon.”
YouTube TV, which unveiled the bulk of the details about the service in late February, is starting off with a package of more than 50 channels, including major local broadcast TV networks, for $35 per month (with channels from the AMC Networks stable and others coming soon). The service will initially be offered on smartphones, tablets and Web browers along with support for the Chromecast streaming adapter and TVs with built-in Chromecast technology. YouTube TV said it will add support for more connected TV devices later this year.
The no-contract service also features a cloud DVR service with unlimited storage (personalized for up to six people per YouTube TV subscription), with the small caveat that subscribers can store their TV shows and movies for up to nine months. Though six, personalized accounts are included in each YouTube TV subscription (meaning those memberships can be shared), the service currently supports three simultaneous streams per household/subscription.
In an effort to attract subs early on, YouTube is offering a 30-day free trial, and a Google Chromecast streaming adapter after customers make their first month’s payment (while supplies last).
YouTube TV and its slimmed down bundle of channels are entering the fray to take on traditional pay TV operators as well as a growing array of virtual MVPDs that have launched or are nearing their debut, including Sling TV, DirecTV Now, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, and one on the way from Hulu. OTT TV providers are also joining the pay TV picture amid a small but growing cord-cutting trend.
In addition to live local feeds from ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC, YouTube TV will also be offering national cable nets such as FX, FS1, USA, Disney Channel, ESPN, Bravo, MSNBC, and Fox News, provide access to original series from the subscription-based YouTube Red service, as well as add-ons that, at launch, include Showtime and Fox Soccer Plus. At launch, YouTube TV will lack channels from programmers such as Time Warner, Viacom and Discovery Networks.
However, channels and services from AMC Networks will be joining the YouTube TV mix, as the new service will soon add AMC, BBC America, IFC, Sundance TV, We TV and BBC World to the $35 per month base package. YouTube TV will also offer Sundance Now for an additional $7 per month, and Shudder for an additional $5 per month.
Other channels to be added soon include Telemundo, ESPN3, NBC Universo and Local Now (from The Weather Channel).
YouTube TV also introduced this video promo about the new service: