Millennials are almost twice as likely as boomers to cut the cord from Big Cable. 30% of Millennials have already snipped the cord, in favor of streaming-only options like Netflix, Hulu and, more recently, HBO NOW. Among those who have yet to cut the cord, the biggest deterrents from abandoning Big Cable have been local news, sports and the ability to watch their favorite shows in real time. But there’s a new service on the scene that’s making many viewers – especially Millennials, myself included – more likely to cut the cord: YouTube TV. And it’s only $35 a month.
As someone whose cable prices just jumped up again, as yet another promotional rate expired, as soon as I happened upon this intel (thanks Wired.com), I had to know more. When you first open tv.YouTube.com, you greet it with a sigh of relief – “Finally, live TV made for you“.
As you scroll through the homepage, you are greeted with one promising feature after another – DVR like you’ve never DVR’ed before, watch it on all your screens, 6 user accounts, 40 live TV channels, no commitment, only $35 a month; and to sweeten the deal: get a complimentary Google Chromecast after your first payment. Sounds too good to be true, right? Needless to say, I was intrigued. So I subscribed basically the same minute I reached the bottom of the homepage (buh-bye Time Warner!). Here’s my initial review:
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Hell yes, YouTube TV is the future!
Great opening channel selection: For sports fans, I’m sure the large number of sports channels including ESPN and FOX is a definite draw. For me, more of a drama watcher, I’m pleasantly surprised that all four major networks are part of the channel line-up (hello Bachelorette and Shondaland viewing parties!).
Visual & intuitive interface: The user interface is very intuitive and easy to use, with visual live previews of what’s on TV now.
On-Demand shows & movies: YouTube TV offers a wide variety of on-demand show and movie viewing options (many that are commercial-free!) that might sway me away from Hulu as well as Spectrum (formerly Time Warner Cable).
Unlimited DVR: What else is there to say? Not having to worry about having to choose between which re-runs to delete from my DVR every few months is a nice plus for YouTube TV users. The service allows users to save an unlimited number of shows and movies for up to 9 months. Hello And-And Generation – here’s the DVR service we’ve always wanted where we no longer have to choose; we can have it all!
Up to 6 account users: After all, sharing is caring. YouTube TV delivers on one of the Millennials’ core traits – our WE-mindedness. With the ability to add 5 other authorized users, families and multiple-roommate households rejoice! Everyone can be happy and watch their favorite shows all at the same time. Up to three devices can stream live TV simultaneously.
There’s still some room for improvement!
Missing some channel favorites: Some of my key favorites like HGTV, TLC and the Food Network among others are missing, but I’m optimistic that, as YouTube TV gains traction and spreads across the nation, these channels will get on board.
Some TV guide limitations: At present, there doesn’t appear to be a way to scroll forward in time to see what’s next (like traditional cable guides). Instead, the guide option only focuses on what’s live now. In the future, I expect this to be broadened to give users a more complete picture of their entertainment options.
Some Chromecast limitations: Since I have a first-generation Chromecast, there is a bit of a delay when changing the channel (about 30 seconds which feels like forever in the moment). But once the trial is over, users get a complementary second-generation Chromecast which should eliminate this problem.
The bottom line
Overall based on my experience so far, I’m definitely a fan. While I am hoping that some of these limitations, especially the limited channel pool, will be remedied in the future, YouTube TV even as it is today poses a convincing argument that has swayed this long-time cable-lover to cut the cord.