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A beginner’s guide to YouTube TV, a live TV app with over 80 channels and unlimited DVR

YouTube TV is Google’s answer to streaming services like Hulu + Live TV.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

  • YouTube TV is a streaming app that offers over 80 live TV channels, along with on-demand shows and movies.
  • A YouTube TV subscription costs $64.99 per month, and comes with cloud DVR service for up to three devices.
  • You can stream YouTube TV on most streaming devices, game consoles, smartphones, and computers.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

A decade ago, nearly everyone had cable TV. These days, it’s much more common to use a live TV service like YouTube TV.

Here’s everything to know about YouTube TV, including what you can watch with it, how much it costs, and how to watch.

What is YouTube TV?

Launched by Google in 2017, YouTube TV a subscription service that offers over 80 live channels. This includes the basic options you’d expect from any TV service — ABC, CBS, PBS — along with more niche channels, like ESPN, HGTV, and TNT.

The exact lineup of channels you’ll get varies depending on your location. You can get a preview of your channels by entering your zip code on YouTube TV’s welcome page. 

A YouTube TV ad promoting how many channels it offers.A YouTube TV ad promoting how many channels it offers.


You can also add a number of “premium” channels to your account by paying additional monthly fees. This includes HBO, STARZ, and Showtime. This is alongside a “Sports Plus Add-on” that adds over a dozen dedicated sports channels.

And if live TV isn’t really your thing, YouTube TV also offers a large catalog of on-demand shows and movies to binge whenever you want.

Some of the on-demand movies offered on YouTube TV.YouTube TV offers on-demand movies and shows.


Finally, every YouTube TV subscription comes with an unlimited amount of cloud DVR storage. This lets you record nearly any live TV show or movie and then watch it whenever you like. You’ll also be able to rewind, fast forward, and pause what you’ve recorded.

How much does YouTube TV cost?

YouTube TV costs $64.99 per month for the most basic subscription. This is about on par with similar live TV apps like Hulu, and cheaper than most traditional cable services.

It comes with the standard 80+ channels and unlimited DVR. You can stream on up to 3 devices at once, shared across 6 separate accounts.

Like we mentioned, you can pay additional fees to add premium channels. This includes HBO ($15 per month), STARZ ($9/month), Showtime ($11/month), EPIX ($6/month), Acorn TV ($6/month), and more. The lineup and prices are subject to change, so keep an eye on the YouTube TV website for exact information.

And finally, you can sign up for a 4K Plus package that lets you stream in 4K, save your recordings offline, and stream on as many devices as you want at once. It costs an extra $10 per month for the first year, and then $20 per month afterwards.

An ad for YouTube TV's premium channels and add-ons.Some of YouTube TV’s premium channels and add-ons.


How to watch YouTube TV 

Like most modern streaming apps, YouTube TV is available on all sorts of devices.

You can watch YouTube TV on all major streaming devices, including Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Chromecast. Some smart TVs also include YouTube TV as a default app.

There’s a YouTube TV app for both PlayStation and Xbox consoles.

Smartphone users can download YouTube TV from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

And of course, you can watch straight from your computer using the YouTube TV website.

An ad promoting all the ways a user can watch YouTube TV.There’s a good chance that you already own a device that can stream YouTube TV.


Every version of the app is free to download, but you’ll need a paid YouTube TV subscription to sign in.

Sarah Wells contributed to a previous version of this article.

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