This week, YouTube TV is experiencing another price hike up to $72.99/month. While the service has its strong points, there are other streaming apps out there. So how does YouTube TV’s pricing stack up to its competitors? This guide will take you through YouTube TV’s new pricing and the pricing of other potential primary streaming services.
What happened to YouTube TV?
YouTube TV is a good cable replacement, but at what cost? Well, the streaming app has doubled in price over the last six years. Of course, the actual content on YouTube TV has been refined and become more focused for viewers to find what they’re looking for and stick with it. Its current catalog consists of a little over 100 channels, and while that doesn’t sound like a lot, we still find only some are worth checking into.
This week, YouTube TV’s Base Plan has jumped in price from $72.99 compared with last year’s price of $64.99 – an $8 increase in cost. On the flip side, the 4K Plus plan that brings 4K sports and other high-quality options to your screen has come down to $9.99 – $10 cheaper. If you were paying for both prior to the change, you’re now actually saving a little money, though users without the 4K plan are paying the premium increase.
In reality, YouTube TV is still technically cheaper – and more straightforward – than a cable package from Spectrum or Dish. However, the reason most sign up for YouTube TV is to escape these companies and find something that’s more tailored to their needs. The fact of the matter is that there are other services out there that accomplish the same thing.
What other TV replacements are out there?
The fortunate aspect of a TV replacement app is that most will be marketed in the same manner as YouTube TV. Each wants to fill in that cable gap for a much more reasonable price.
If you’ve seen ads for YouTube TV, you’ve likely seen just as many for FuboTV as well. FuboTV has a similar setup compared to YouTube TV, with hundreds of channels and a DVR that allows recording your favorite episodes of each show you’re genuinely interested in.
One major aspect FuboTV seems to dominate in is sports coverage, with many users preferring the service over others simply because it can cover the category very well.
FuboTV is split up into three plans, with each having up to 1000 hours of cloud DVR and the ability to play on an unlimited number of screens, so long as 10 or fewer are at home.
Beyond that, there is Pro plan at $74.99/month. This is the base plan which gives you the above features as well as access to 151 channels.
The Elite plan at $84.99/month gets you 213 channels and over 130 “events” in 4K. Fubo “extra” is thrown in, which adds 51 more channels, and this includes News Plus.
Lastly, FuboTV has the Premier plan at $94.99/month. That plan comes with 222 channels and 130+ 4K sporting events, News Plus, Fubo Extra, and SHOWTIME.
The base price sits at almost the exact same price compared to YouTube TV, and the success of FuboTV could have had a contributing factor the to latest change in Google’s pricing plan. The same goes for the Elite plan, which is the first 4K package. That comes in at $2 more than YouTube TV’s Base Plan plus 4K add-on.
Deciding whether or not FuboTV is a valid replacement for YouTube TV comes down to channel preference. If you’re looking for a sports-centric service, FuboTV is probably the better move, though it’s at no point cheaper than YouTube TV.
Sling is another good option for those who want to get a cable stand-in but don’t want to pay upwards of $60 or more per month. Sling’s structure has plans split into interests, with a sports channel set and a news and entertainment category. Both are priced reasonably, though you can opt for a package that includes everything. The full set still doesn’t touch $60, though you might find that the selection isn’t as good.
The first two are priced identically, with the Orange plan at $40/month and the Blue plan at $40/month. The Orange package is meant for sports lovers and families, so channels like ESPN, TNT, FS1, FX, and USA are included. The Blue plan includes more channels but omits the sports categories.
Sling’s highest tier is the Orange & Blue package, which comes in at $55. With that you’re getting the best of both worlds, so to speak. However, those “worlds” still might not include the channels you actually watch, so be sure to look at Sling’s channel list. Another thing to note is that each package only gives users 50 hours of DVR, which is quite low. That comes out to around 12 football games, for comparison.
Hulu + Live TV
Hulu might be one of our favorite alternatives directly compared to YouTube TV, as it’s technically cheaper but comes with some nice benefits. Of course, you’re paying for Hulu’s category of streamed content catalog, which is a reasonable selection. On top of that, you also get Disney+ and ESPN+ included with the base plan. That brings the value up tremendously since you’re now saving money on both of those services. Of course, with Hulu being Hulu there is a package with ads and a package without.
Hulu + Live TV with ads runs $69.99/month. That gets you ESPN+ and Disney+ with ads, as well as a catalog of sports, news, and entertainment channels. If you don’t want ads, you’re looking at Hulu + Live TV without ads plan for $82.99/month.
If you were to take the Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN+ out of it – $19.99 value according to Hulu – the true cost of the Live TV portion is around $62.99/month. That cost is still technically lower than YouTube TV and you’re getting a pretty compelling sports selection. Not to mention, it comes with unlimited DVR, with each recording lasting nine months.
Consider content-specific options
Now more than ever, it feels like you’re paying apps like YouTube TV and FuboTV for everything you don’t watch and nothing you do. In the past year or so, there has been an increase in apps that offer very specific categories, but they do it well.
For instance, Apple TV+ is now offering MLS Season Pass which holds every single MLS game during the season and every league match to go with it. On the other hand, ESPN+ offers football-specific content, but it does it well. If you feel like you’re overpaying for live TV, consider switching the paying for an app’s add-on.
Related: Apple TV MLS Season Pass: Everything you need to know about watching games on Android TV
MLS Season Pass is around $80 for the entire year. That’s a fraction of what you’d pay YouTube TV to show you FOX and be fortunate enough to watch your team’s game on the off chance that game is being broadcast. Another good option specifically for F1 fans is F1 TV, which costs $79 and offers every F1 race and tournament for a whole year.
By signing up for a content-specific add-on, you’re saving a lot of money in the long run and can avoid paying these TV apps the same price every single month.
Is YouTube TV overpriced?
In all, YouTube TV is a good service, but it’s hard to stick with even the best streaming providers when the price gets too high.
While FuboTV seems to sit right with YouTube TV in pricing and content availability, Hulu + Live TV looks to be a compelling competitor, so long as you’re interested in Disney+ and Hulu as part of that plan. With everything included, you’re looking at a slightly cheaper content-to-price ratio.
At the lowest price, Sling TV is probably the best budget option, though you’ll need to ensure you’re even interested in what the service offers, as it looks like the offering list is a little slim. You’ll also need to be ok with a limited DVR and no 4K content.
While YouTube TV might seem a little too expensive at $72.99 compared to the rest of the pack, the unfortunate truth is that content seems to have a set price no matter who provides it. What you’re inevitably paying for is features and YouTube TV does have a decent handful of them available. In any case, it all comes down to whichever streaming option is more suitable and houses content you’ll actually enjoy.
More on YouTube TV:
- YouTube TV Multiview lets you watch up to 4 games, in preview for March Madness
- YouTube TV appears to be improving picture quality for some subscribers
- YouTube TV’s $10 discount on T-Mobile is no longer a promo code
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