As more companies than ever have been advancing their streaming tactics, there has been one online voice oddly quieter than most: original streaming video giant YouTube. Well, that voice was heard today, and it couldn't have been a more resounding announcement. That's right, YouTube is at last getting into live TV streaming in a huge way, and what's more, it's also going big on DVR services. Hark, the cord cutters are rejoicing in droves!
Let's start with the biggest piece of news here: live TV is no longer limited to cable, satellite and companies that aren't YouTube. The release window for what's being unimaginatively dubbed YouTube TV isn't locked down just yet - more on that later - but the company has officially confirmed the channel lineup will include ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, ESPN, Disney, FX, Fox News, Bravo and dozens more. Apparently a LOT of behind-the-scenes talks were happening, and we couldn't be more pleased to see so much of this deal set in stone ahead of a launch. You'll be able to watch The Simpsons, NCIS, Legion, and more. Showtime and a Fox Sports package will be add-ons for additional fees.
There are some obvious exclusions in the initial list of channels, though, such as AMC and its network umbrella, which also includes BBC America and IFC, among others. As well, no Viacom networks appear to be there, so Nickelodeon and MTV's channel sets aren't there. Still, more channels could come in the future, though we shouldn't expect anything focused on giraffe births.
Now for the DVR business. To go along with its live TV streaming launch, YouTube TV will give customers a DVR of infinite size, as it will use cloud storage to keep programming a click's length for subscribers. Not only can you store as many shows and movies as you want, you can also do it all simultaneously. So if you want to record everything airing on TV for an hour one Sunday at 5:00 p.m., that could be a feasible option. That's way better than anything current cable and satellite companies have going, and YouTube will store your shows for nine months. Hopefully the cloud enters into more providers' packages in the future.
How much will YouTube TV cost, you ask? This membership isn't going to empty your wallet, at least initially, and each subscription will set you back $35 a month. That actually comes with six different accounts that family members can use to set personalized DVR storage and programming recommendations, and three different accounts can be active at a time. Very cool.
Of course, YouTube TV will work everywhere that YouTube does, which means you can watch it using a computer, a Smart TV, a Chromecast stick, your Android and iOS devices, and all the rest. And without the need for a hard drive, there's no limits to what can be watched, no matter where subscribers are. And if live TV isn't on the agenda, memberships also come with full access to YouTube Red's original series and movies.
No debut date has been set yet, because YouTube has set up deals with local carriers around the country. So at this point, it appears there will be a rollout for the service rather than one fell swoop, and you can go to the official YouTube TV website to sign up for more information about when it will be available in your area.