YouTube wants to replace your cable TV service – for real this time.
At an event in California yesterday, the company announced Youtube TV, a virtual cable TV similar to the likes of Sling TV or DirecTV Now. Basically, you pay $35 every month and have access to a series of live broadcast and cable channels. Here’s the current array of content included:
According to Bloomberg, YouTube had been talking with all of the major networks to roll up content. CBS was the first major TV network to sign on to the service, with all of the other studios also roped into discussions including 21st Century Fox, Comcast’s NBCUniversal, and Disney, which owns ABC, ESPN and others.
YouTube says that younger people (“millenials”) want to watch TV in the same place they watch all their other content, which makes sense. It wants to build an experience that “works as well on your phone as on your desktop,” as well as all your other devices.
The service also includes a feature called Cloud DVR, which allows you to save an unlimited number of shows without worrying about the storage limits of a traditional DVR. That said, you must be connected to the internet to access your recorded shows, so no watching on the subway or in the middle of nowhere.
The company also said it was focusing on providing a solid customer service experience, because cable services tend to suck at that. You’ll be able to call, email, or chat with customer service right from the YouTube TV app. To be clear, it’s a completely separate app from the original YouTube one.
Speaking of the app, it’s divided into three sections: Library, Home, and Live. The Live section allows you to channel surf, even letting you swipe up and down to switch between channels instantly. To record a show, simply tap on the “+” icon.
The Library tab is meant to help you find your favorite shows as well as your recordings. Shows have their own pages listing more information like episodes, cast, and related shows.
Finally, Home is your central tab, which shows off suggestions based on both things YouTube guesses you’ll probably want to watch, as well as new shows for your to try out. Google says it’s using machine learning to make these predictions, because of course.
Unfortunately, there’s no direct integration with YouTube Red. While you do have access to YouTube Red originals, it doesn’t include features like background playback on mobile or a Google Play Music subscription. As for ads, YouTube content will play without ads for YouTube Red subscribers, but content from broadcasters will, of course, still have ads.
A single subscription includes six accounts, so your entire family will be covered — unlike some others (looking at you Sling).
You can sign up to be alerted about the service at tv.youtube.com.
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