YouTube TV- My Cable Alternative

Hey guys… Time for a little more Tech Talk w/TK!

With the cost of cable getting ridiculous, everyone is looking for an alternative.  Of course, “Cutting The Cord” from cable to streaming services seems like the way to go, right?  Well, I did it in July 2020, and I haven’t looked back. While I liked my Comcast service due to their customer service and TV interface, I found a great option that gives you that same look and feel, but saves you money overall!!  My choice was YouTube TV.

To do it right, you need to take these 3 steps:

  1. Sign up for YouTube TV at www.tv.youtube.com and choose your package and channels. It starts at $64.99/ month and goes up from there. I went a little nuts and got all the movie channels, but that’s just me. Doing so got me access to HBO Max in the process, which has been great for the comic geek inside me.
  2. Beef up your internet with your chosen provider ( Xfinity or Verizon).  Since you’ll be doing everything via internet/WiFi, you’ll need a pretty beefy plan (400-600 Mbps or higher). I suggest that because we are all doing more video conferencing as well for school and work. I went with a 1 GB plan from Comcast and Verizon. Both are great but have their benefits and drawbacks. More on that in a later post. Either way you go, the cost should run you around or under $100/month.
  3. Grab yourself streaming sticks for your TV’s!  While everyone likely has smart TVs these days, I have found their WiFi cards leave a little to be desired. I like the Chromecast w/Google TV and Roku Streaming Stick+. Both get you a voice remote like you had with your cable service. They take a little work to activate services on them, but you’ll get the hang of it quickly. Have a phone or tablet handy.  But more on those devices to come.

Boom!!!  Now you’re ready to rock and roll.  To get used to it and compare channels, you can keep both services for a period, as I did. Unfortunately, YouTube TV only offers a 7 Day trial these days.  That’s not as long as others, so be sure you are ready to test.

After months of regular use in my household, here are some quick notes on YouTube TV:

The Good:

  • Sign up easily using your Google/Gmail account.  Let’s face it, we’ve all used Google before in some way, right?  Most of us likely have a Gmail account already.  Simply sign-in using your Google account, and you’re enrolled in YouTube TV.  No new account and password to remember.  We all have enough already.
  • Cable-like streaming TV interface.  Unlike others I’ve tested, the YouTube TV interface is the most smooth and natural cable-like interface I’ve found.  This includes the streaming options from providers like Xfinity (Xfinity Stream beta).  Other interfaces seem clunky and computer-like, forcing you to navigate a bunch of screens just to play a show.  YouTube TV feels more like a standard TV experience than a computer that streams live TV.  This gets even better when paired with the new Google Chromecast w/Google TV.
  • You get Live TV.  Unlike others, you truly get live TV with no delay!
  • Month to month service.  Don’t like it, just cancel. No harm no foul. Want to change channels?  Just log into the website and adjust. Easy peasy 😎. Great flexibility.
  • You get your local channels.  Depending on your area, you get most local channels like ABC, CBS & FOX affiliates.
  • Unlimited DVR space.  With a cloud-based library, never run out of space again, or worry about recording more than one show at a time.
  • Up to 6 profiles per account.  YouTube TV allows you to have up to 6 user profiles per account.  This allows for customized DVR libraries, guides, and recommendations on what to watch per user.
  • Customizable guide.  Don’t like certain channels in the package?  Want to see your favorites right up front?  YouTube TV allows you to customize the Live TV guide to your needs.  Remove & re-order channels the way you want using the web interface.
  • Take your TV with you wherever you go.  Your service comes with you no matter where you are.  Just pay once and take it from location to location. All you need is a device and data connection. Great for those with vacation homes ( first world problem I realize).
  •  Get true 4k content from the source.  With more and more content coming out in 4k, getting access straight from the source is great. No more limitations on the box.
  • No more monthly box fees!  These guys really add up!  Pay one time for the streaming sticks and you’re done. Or use built-in apps if you prefer to really save money.
  • Put a TV anywhere you have power, no more cable jack required.  Great way to set up an outdoor TV for fun. Perfect these days for watching the game with family friends while staying socially distant.

The Not So Good:

  • Month to month service (yes again).   While great for flexibility, it does allow YouTube TV to change pricing.
  •  They limit the number of concurrent devices.  While you get up to 6 profiles per account, you only get 3 concurrent devices at a time. With all of the content you get from other services, this hasn’t been a big thing for me.  But just keep that in mind if you’re thinking of sharing the service with your family, not that anyone would do that right? 😜.  Smart safeguard by Google/YouTube TV.

Included below are some links to more info.

General Pictures of the Interface (Yes, I picked Goonies in the background for fun)

Published by Trevor Kassner

Marketing technologist with a love of all things tech. Early adopter & family man looking to share his thoughts.

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