Ever dreamt about ditching the cable TV subscription but always afraid about missing out on the latest episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta? Well, now Google has a solution, as its YouTube TV service allows users to access a whole host of television content without leaving the confines of YouTube – the only problem is, the service is currently exclusive to the US.

YouTube TV is the latest entry into the much sought after live TV arena. Its main competitors are currently Sling TV and PlayStation Vue, two other services that promise to give their users access to live streaming TV content from some of the biggest networks, without forcing them into a cable box subscription.

Through YouTube TV, users are free to ditch their subscriptions with companies such as Time Warner, Comcast and Verizon, and instead can enjoy all of their favourite TV shows on YouTube’s website or range of apps. Users will get access to some of the most popular channels in America, including all four of the biggest networks – ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC. In addition, the likes of The CW, USA Network, FX, Disney Channel, E!, ESPN, Bravo and SyFy will be available. That means popular shows such as Keeping Up With The Kardashians, The Real Housewives of Alanta and Suits can all be enjoyed without a cable subscription, or even a TV.

Users will still have to pay for the privilege of watching all this content, although it’s clear Google has priced YouTube TV competitively. Solely subscribing to cable TV with Time Warner Cable can cost $69.98 a month, and that’s excluding DVR functionality. That’s an extra $11.99 a month, and allows users to record up to 30 hours of content; although they can only record up to two shows at any one time. That’s in comparison to the cost of YouTube TV, which Google has set at $35 per month, including unlimited DVR storage and the ability to record as many TV shows as one could enjoy.

Despite its affordability, YouTube TV is lacking in some areas. Most notably is that some of the networks users can enjoy with Time Warner Cable are notably absent from YouTube’s line-up. That includes the likes of Viacom, Discovery, A&E, AMC and Turner Broadcasting. CNN is also missing, a glaring hole in the news coverage currently offered by Google’s live TV service.

YouTube TV Channels

Those glaring holes are going to make it difficult for some users to choose between YouTube TV and alternative services, such as PlayStation Vue. Sony’s service includes CNN, TBS, TNT, AMC and HBO, all of which cannot be added to YouTube TV at this moment in time. Showtime and Fox Soccer Plus can be added to the YouTube TV service, although these are premium channels and require an upcharge – although that shouldn’t come as a surprise, given Time Warner Cable also ask for an additional fee for these channels.

YouTube does have an ace up its sleeve, however. That’s because YouTube TV works seamlessly with Google Home, allowing users to simply ask the Google Assistant to start playing a show on the Chromecast and it’ll just work. That’s something currently not possible on any other TV service, and only the Caavo remote offers a similar experience.

It’s not just the YouTube website or Chromecast that will support YouTube TV either. The company’s app range is also being updated to allow users to access their DVR recordings and live streaming TV. That means no matter what device is being used, whether it’s an iOS smartphone, Android tablet or Samsung TV, users should have access to all of the content they want. Except NFL games. Google confirmed that due to a deal between the NFL and Verizon, YouTube TV won’t be able to show NFL games on mobile devices.

At launch, YouTube TV will only work in some of the company’s apps. As of right now, that excludes devices such as the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Apple TV and Roku – although YouTube hopes to roll it out to other platforms in the future.

Google’s play for the live TV market will be especially painful for Apple, which has reportedly been working on its own live television service. YouTube TV may even have a few killer features that Apple will be unable to match, such as giving users the ability to save ‘virtually’ anything they watch on the service. That means full seasons of The Big Bang Theory or How To Get Away With Murder could be saved to YouTube TV’s unlimited DVR and then binge-watched at the end of the season.

In addition to giving users access to content from some of the biggest television networks in the United States, YouTube TV will also give users access to the company’s own original programming. At the moment that includes shows such as Dan and Phil – The Amazing Tour Is Not On Fire and Scare Pewdiepie, the latter of which was recently cancelled due to controversy surrounding the YouTube star.

Despite gaining access to original programming, users subscribing to YouTube TV won’t get the full benefits of the company’s existing subscription service, YouTube Red. That means in order to enjoy both live TV and an ad-free experience, users will need to subscribe to both services.

A UK launch of YouTube TV is currently not on the cards, although that’s not exactly surprising.

YouTube TV will be launching in select markets throughout the United States later this spring. Those subscribing to the service will be able to share their subscription with up to six additional users, while they won’t be tied into a contract – allowing them to cancel at anytime.

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