YouTube unveiled YouTube TV today, a standalone app that'll let you watch 40+ cable and broadcast channels via the internet for $35 per month. The service will launch in the spring at an unspecified date in “the largest US markets,” according to a YouTube statement. Key channels include ESPN, CBS, ABC, USA, FX, Fox News, E!, the CW, and others. And just like a cable subscription, you can add premium channels like Showtime to your bundle for extra money per month.
The service resembles Dish’s Sling TV, Sony PlayStation Vue, and AT&T’s DirecTV Now, which allow people to watch live TV on traditional channels via the internet. Hulu is planning to release a similar service soon, according to the New York Post. Facebook has plans for a standalone TV app, and Apple, already a player with Apple TV, has announced plans for making original TV shows.
YouTube TV is separate from YouTube Red, the site’s premium content channel that requires a subscription, though subscribing to YouTube TV also gives you access to YouTube Red Originals. (Disclosure: YouTube Red has purchased web series from BuzzFeed). YouTube TV will be a standalone app downloaded to phones (both iOS and Android), tablets (same), or computers. In its announcement blog post, the company highlighted the ability to watch YouTube TV on traditional sets via the company’s Chromecast device.
You’ll be able to record live shows and save them to the app without storage limits, where you can keep them for up to nine months. Each subscription comes with the ability to create six personalized accounts and watch three concurrent streams at once. Recode reports that Google’s artificial intelligence software will power the service’s recommendation system. The company didn’t say how regular YouTube videos will interact with YouTube TV, but it is worth noting that TV will be a separate app from YouTube’s flagship downloadable service.
Justin Connolly, an executive vice president at Disney and ESPN, said in a statement that the service would allow networks to reach “young, mobile-first audiences.”