What Is YouTube TV? Company Promises Chance To Stream Your Favorite Programs

Matthew Hunt
March 4, 2017

The new service will allow subscribers in United States markets to get access on any connected device to networks such as ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, along with "sports networks and dozens of popular cable networks", according to YouTube. This means YouTube gets access to content from those networks plus about 35 of their affiliated cable channels, according to Bloomberg.

And some significant TV programmers are not part of YouTube TV.

The service is priced at $35 a month with no contract.

The other notable channels include ESPN, MSNBC, Fox News, SyFy, E!, the Disney Channel and National Geographic.

It's got a Showtime option (NYSE:CBS), but no HBO (NYSE:TWX).

Channels available on YouTube TV.

As for navigating the content, the primary interface will be a smartphone app with three tabs: "Live", "Library", and "Home".

YouTube used to be the place you could watch nearly anything you wanted, for free.

Offering a virtual cable bundle could also provide networks an additional opportunity to attract younger audiences to their shows, many who have opted to cut the cord and abandon cable entirely, sans the internet and streaming services. The plan, which like other streaming services does not require a contract or long-term commitment, comes with numerous same channels available on other platforms, such as ESPN, Syfy and the Disney Channel. Add "Los Angeles Lakers" to your favorites list, for instance, and the service will automatically record all Lakers games. They even throw in YouTube Red for free, if that's what you're into...

"It's live TV designed for the YouTube generation", wrote Christian Oestlien, Product Management Director for YouTube.

YouTube TV is also making its debut as the television industry sees a trend toward "skinny bundles" in which people opt for preferred selections of channels based on what they like instead of paying big fees to cable providers for myriad channels, many of which they don't really want.

There are a few big questions that YouTube declined to answer at today's unveiling, the biggest of which is the specific local markets where YouTube TV will be available.

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