Google has announced YouTube TV, an online service to live-stream and record a portion of the US’s premium and cable television networks. The service is a barebones alternative to expensive cable packages in the US, which can cost up to hundreds of dollars per month. It is priced at $35/month, and will have networks like the ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox; and sports networks like ESPN. YouTube has also partnered with some regional affiliates in the country.

Google says that YouTube TV will be available “soon”, but indicated that it may not be available all over the country simultaneously. Unlike YouTube Red, it is unclear whether YouTube TV will be ad-free. The company hasn’t made any announcements on whether the service will ever be made available outside the US.

Cloud DVR and Showtime

YouTube TV allows up to six accounts per subscription, and supports “cloud DVR”, which saves recordings for later access, for a period of up to nine months. It also includes a subscription to YouTube Red, which otherwise costs $10/month. It is supported on most laptops and mobile devices, although some sports content may be restricted on the latter. The network Showtime is available as an extra add-on, just like it is on Amazon Prime Video in the US. The service will also include YouTube Red original shows.

In the US, YouTube will be competing with services like Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and AT&T’s DirecTV; all of which offer a portion of popular TV channels at a fraction of the cost of traditional cable packages.

YouTube TV comes at a time when viewership habits are changing drastically and moving online; according to a survey of American teenagers last year, most of them watch more YouTube and Netflix than cable.

Recent developments

  • Last month, YouTube opened up its live-streaming feature to all users who have more than 10,000 subscribers.
  • Google announced YouTube Go in India last September, an app that optimized YouTube for slower Internet connections, and enabled offline viewing.
  • Last June, YouTube partnered with Telenor and Airtel to promote those networks’ night-time data plans, by allowing their susbcribers to schedule offline downloads in time periods when data would be cheaper.