It’s been rumored for a long time now, but YouTube has just officially announced its entry into streaming live TV. YouTube TV will let you access live and recorded content from major networks both broadcast and on cable. All of this will be coupled alongside YouTube’s existing content, and it’ll work on any screen that YouTube is available on. It’ll be available later this spring for $35 a month with no contract; that’ll let up to six users access content whenever they want.
Networks taking part include CBS, Fox, NBC and CBS along with USA and FX. Sports networks include ESPN, Fox Sports and NBCSN — there’s a total of 10 sports networks available. You can also add on Showtime for an additional fee. Local networks for your area will also be included, so you can get the local news and programming broadcasts from the channels you’d see over the air. All in all, the total of 40 networks is similar to what you get from something like Sony’s PlayStation Vue.
YouTube TV also includes unlimited cloud DVR storage, so you can add any series or sports team to your favorites and it’ll save all of them for you. Naturally, YouTube will also use the massive amount of data is has on your interests to help serve you recommendations thanks to its machine learning network. YouTube TV will also eventually work with Google Home, so you can ask Home to start playing a show on your Chromecast and it’ll “just work.”
The company also wants to offer excellent customer service, something a YouTube executive said is oen of cable’s biggest pain points right now. You’ll be able to contact customer service through the YouTube app any time, either via text chat or voice chat.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said that the company was doing this as a way to reach the many younger people who don’t want TV on a standard TV screen. People are watching plenty of TV content on YouTube already — particularly clips from late night shows and sports — but the company wanted customers to be able to get more TV content in that fashion. Wojcicki said that YouTube wants to offer customers TV “whenever they want, on any screen, on their terms.”
This is a separate product offering from YouTube Red, which the company launched in late 2015 as a way to give users an ad-free YouTube experience. It also features some original programming, but overall it’s been more in keeping with the personality-based content rather than longer, high-end productions you might find from the big networks. However, YouTube TV will contain all of YouTube Red’s original programming.