Residents of New York, Los Angeles, SF Bay Area, Chicago, and Philadelphia now have another option for those looking to cut the cord from their cable company. Google made available yesterday their YouTube TV app and service, which allows users to stream local TV channels as well as a select group of other channels including ESPN, Fox Sports Disney Channel, and soon to be joining them additional channels like AMC and BBC America. The service is currently being offered at $35/monthly, with additional add-ons (like Showtime) available for an extra charge. But for your $35, you get an unlimited cloud based DVR that will store content for up to 9 months.
Google is stepping into the realm of companies like Netflix, Hulu, and Sony’s Playstation Vue, but with the added benefit of being able to get your local ABC, NBC, and CBS affiliates as well. Once you sign up for service, and it verifies that you live in one of the currently supported markets, you get a free month to try it out and download the app to interface with the DVR and all the content that’s available. Your primary delivery method for the content would be to your mobile phone (or even internet connected tablet) and then through the use of a Chromecast or other cast enabled device, you can move it from your phone/tablet to your TV. At that point, the sending device becomes a remote for your programming and you’re on your way.
You have the ability to see what’s currently playing during the current timeframe, or in classic Google fashion, you can search for teams, show titles, or actors/actresses specifically. Once that’s done, you can add them to your DVR queue, and the system will prepare them for your viewing at any point in the future. I’ve signed up for the service, and it was very easy to search for keywords like “Oklahoma City Thunder” and “Mickey and the Roadster Racers” and find the content I was looking for. You simply click a button and the YouTube TV app adds it to your Library, and its sorted into categories for you to peruse later.
You’ve got at least (from my personal usage of the app) sections for Shows, Movies, Sports, and Events, and underneath that is a section for your currently scheduled recordings. The Home tab shows you popular live TV, as well as suggestions for new shows to record, and your Live tab is all the currently playing content from the local TV stations as well as all the other bundled content that you’d have access to (over 30 other selections and potentially growing very soon) – and that’s it. No complicated menus, just a slick and easy to navigate app that gives you access to live TV.
The total package of other cable channels is small at the moment, but Google has said that AMC and others are coming on board in the near future. I’m personally someone who watches mostly local stations with the occasional need for live sports and (of course) as much kid friendly programming as I can get, so I’m eagerly awaiting Nickelodeon and Nick Jr to show up on this list, but until then – I’ve got 30 days to try it out. If you are thinking about leaving your cable company behind and you live in one of these 5 metro areas, you should to.