All Reviews

YouTube TV got better today, but it’s still not the best

Clock second hand Clock background

  April 10th, 2019  By Joe Supan

Streaming services are beginning to look a lot like cable. In what seems to be a weekly occurrence for OTT streamers, YouTube TV announced some major changes to its product, effective immediately. But unlike DIRECTV NOW’s recent moves — a worse product for a higher price — YouTube TV clearly improved its offerings today.

Still, it’s hard to shake the feeling that this is why people cut the cord in the first place: Paying more for a bunch of channels that they never asked for.

YouTube TV adds Discovery networks and raises prices $10/month

YouTube TV subscribers now have eight new channels from the Discovery networks in their lineups — along with an extra $10 on their monthly bill. Here are the new channels it nabbed:

  • Discovery Channel
  • HGTV
  • Food Network
  • TLC
  • Investigation Discovery
  • Animal Planet
  • Travel Channel
  • MotorTrend

YouTube TV also said it would be adding OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) “later this year.” Existing subscribers will pay $50 a month beginning on 5/13. Users who are billed through Apple will pay $55 a month, ostensibly to cover the App Store’s in-app purchase fee.

This is the first price hike for YouTube TV since March 2018, when it went from $35 to $40 a month. At that time, existing subscribers were grandfathered in to their old prices. That’s not the case now — everyone will pay $50.

Is it worth it?

There’s no question that the quality of YouTube TV’s channels offering got better today. One recent survey from TiVo asked respondents which channels they wanted the most in an à la carte TV package. Discovery Channel, Food Network, and Animal Planet all landed in the top ten. They were huge holes in YouTube TV’s product before this update, especially considering that Hulu + Live TV and PlayStation Vue already had everything YouTube TV was missing for only $5 more.

According to TiVo’s Video Trends Report, YouTube TV’s new lineup has 14 out of the top 20 most desired channels in a TV package.

Hulu + Live TV is a better value for most people

Even though YouTube TV added some quality channels today, it still falls short of Hulu + Live TV — and it costs $5 more a month. It’s a close race — Hulu has 16 of the top 20 channels compared to YouTube’s 14, but 15 fewer channels overall — Hulu has the slight edge, and it’s $5 cheaper per month.

That said, the playing field between live TV streaming services has leveled significantly in the past few months. They almost all have licensing deals with the same networks, and thus have very similar channels and prices. Here are the most notable differences between them:

The Bottom Line

Caveat: The best live TV streaming service for you depends on what channels you want the most. That said, Hulu + Live TV provides better value than YouTube TV for most people, and it’s $5 cheaper a month. What’s more, Hulu’s ad-supported on-demand library is included ($5.99 a month on its own).

Magnified: Zooming in on the best of everything

Sign up for our email newsletter, Magnified, where we uncover surprising truths, go behind the scenes of our reviews, and arm you with great dinner party conversation.