YouTube Debuts YouTube TV in 5 Cities, Includes Free Chromecast
Less than two months after it was officially announced, YouTube has entered the skinny bundle space with YouTube TV. The rollout is limited for the time being to five metropolitan areas: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Philadelphia. The company says more cities will be added soon, but didn't provide details.
YouTube TV costs $35 per month, although anyone interested can first sample a one-month free trial. The service includes a cloud DVR with unlimited storage, although recordings will expire after nine months. Look for cloud DVRs to become an essential amenity in skinny bundles.
Channels include live streams from ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and more for 50 channels total. The lineup includes AMC, BBC America, and IFC, all of which weren't included in the initial announcement. Those and a few others are listed as "coming soon," so don't expect them at launch. Subscribers also get access to YouTube Red's original programming. Showtime is an $11 per month extra.
A subscription includes six accounts, each of which includes an unlimited DVR. Only three of the accounts can stream at any one time. The service is multi-platform, working on computers and mobile devices. After customers have paid for one month of service, they'll get a free Google Chromecast. For now, that's the only way to get YouTube TV on a TV, since there aren't yet apps for connected TV devices. YouTube says they'll come later this year.
Anyone not in one of the five covered areas who wants to know when they'll get access can sign up for updates.
The YouTube TV channel lineup
At what point does a skinny bundle stop being skinny? YouTube TV now offers over 50 channels, and the price will rise next month.
With an additional 14 metropolitan areas, half the homes in the United States can now subscribe to YouTube TV. 17 more markets will soon follow.
Channels in the YouTube Partner Program now need 10,000 lifetime views to qualify for ads, and must be reviewed for policy compliance.
While channel selection is limited, the unlimited cloud DVR helps make up for it. Look for the $35 monthly service to debut this spring.
A low-priced skinny bundle called YouTube Unplugged may launch early in 2017, with 2 or 3 major broadcasters providing channels.