Editor’s note: This article was updated on 7/1/2020 to reflect changes in YouTube TV services and prices.
A year ago I made the switch from cable to YouTube TV. Overall, I’ve been pretty happy with the service and have no regrets of leaving cable/satellite (although I do miss MythTV). After a few months, I noticed a few things YouTube TV could improve. Here is my YouTube TV review update after a year on the service.
YouTube TV Review Update: What’s changed over the last year?
YouTube TV hasn’t stood pat over the year. While services like Playstation Vue have folded, YouTube TV has been expanding its offerings and feature set. Here are some of the things they have improved:
- New channels – YouTube TV has added a slew of channels this year: Discovery, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, OWN, and PBS.
- 7/1/2020 update – They’ve added Viacom CBS Channels BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, TV Land and VH1. They plan to add BET Her, MTV2, MTV Classic, Nick Jr., NickToons and TeenNick later in the year.
- Price Increase – In 2019, YouTube TV went from $40/month to
- 7/1/2020 update – They’ve raised the price to $64.99/month
- Available on FireTV devices – Google and Amazon decided to play nice for a change and now YouTube TV is available on FireTV devices.
- Autoplay – At the end of 2019 YouTube TV added a feature that auto-plays content after you open the app. This is supposed to be something you are likely to want to watch.
- VOD no longer replacing recorded versions – YouTube TV used to replace your recordings with video on demand versions for some channels. Unfortunately, VOD versions have unskippable commercials. The VOD versions still exist, but they don’t replace your recordings anymore.
What I like about YouTube TV
- Clean simple interface – The interface isn’t fancy, but it works. Nine times out of ten when I start up the app the show I want to watch is one of the first choices on the home screen (Google knows everything!). There are really only a few menus and you can get right to what you want without much work.
- Picture quality – When I was first trying out YouTubeTV I noted the quality was just as good to my eye as Satellite TV. Recently I subscribed to SlingTV for the football season primarily to get RedZone and the NFL Network. SlingTV had a noticeable drop in quality for football compared to YouTube TV.
- Multiple profiles – YouTube TV allows for up to 5 additional profiles at no extra cost. Each profile has its own recordings, favorite channel lists, and even content restrictions. Great for young children! Note, you can still only stream on 3 devices simultaneously.
- Unlimited DVR – There is no limit to what you can record. I now record all kinds of sporting events and movies because I don’t have to worry about space.
- Device support – I mostly use Roku devices, but I also have an Android phone and FireTV stick. It also works in a web browser. YouTube TV supports all of the major platforms.
- Search and Filter – The YouTube TV interface makes it easy to search for shows and filter by categories.
What I dislike about YouTube TV
In my article about what YouTube TV needs to improve, I wrote about 3 features that need improving that are still really bugging me:
- No way to mark individual shows as watched or delete – There is no way to manually set a program as watched or unwatched. You also can’t delete a show without deleting all of the episodes, which leads to a cluttered library if you watch a lot of different shows.
- Not many organization options for recordings – You can pretty much only sort TV shows by recording date (which doesn’t work well for shows in syndication) or title. It would be great to have more sorting options like categories and playlists.
- Lack of 5.1 audio – There seems to be some 5.1 audio on VOD programming, but I haven’t come across any on my recordings or live TV.
- Increasing prices – I get that they are adding content and thus have to raise prices. I just wish we could opt out of the new content if possible, or have our old prices grandfathered. I know, nobody does this.
However, the new autoplay feature is my biggest annoyance. This has been the worst recent change to YouTube TV. On some platforms (Android TV, Apple TV, and Roku) Google will automatically start playing “recommended” content when you start the app. It has not once played anything I am interested in with this feature, and I’d rather it not do this. Also, this uses extra bandwidth, which may be one of the things you should concern yourself with when cutting the cord.
On my Roku, there is no way to turn this off. On other platforms, you can. I’m sure eventually everyone will be able to turn this feature off, but until then, it’s really annoying. UPDATE: My Roku’s gained this feature in mid-January!
I switched over to YouTubeTV a year ago and I have not regretted the decision. The experience, overall, is better and more portable than cable. Over the year most features have improved, but there are still a few things it needs to improve. Looking forward to another year of improvement.
If you are looking for a cable replacement streaming service, give YouTube TV a hard look!
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