I've made an effort to use all the major live streaming services, at least a little of them, say a month or two each, from various services. I've tried them, not just for a free trial, but actually paying money from my wallet to these companies. One of the best is YouTube TV.
Why am I calling it "one of the best" instead of simply "the best" live streaming services. Patience, young one. All will become clear.
The selection of channels available from YouTube TV is top notch. If you're a sports fan, you'll get the major sports channels. You'll find the ESPN channels in the lineup, as well as the Fox sports channels. There are NBC sports channels, MLB Network, NFL Network, NBA TV, and more.
Oh, by the way, don't confuse "Fox sports channels" with "Fox Sports channels." You see the difference? One means channels of sports from Fox, the other refers to channels that no longer exist that were sold by Fox to others, and are now Bally Sports channels. And Bally sports channels are not part of YouTube TV.
How can I say that YouTube TV has the major sports channels if they don't carry Bally? Well, those are regional channels, while the ones YouTube TV carries are national. That's the difference. But it's an important difference. You'll only find Bally sports on AT&T TV service, at least, at this writing. So, if that's a requirement, then YouTube TV isn't for you.
For a lot of people, YouTube TV would be a great choice for a live streaming service. My question as always is do you really need a live streaming service? If your answer is "yes" then keep reading. YouTube TV might be for you.
For news junkies, there are the major channels from NBC, Fox News, CNN, BBC, ABC, plus some regional news.
The lineup of entertainment channels is large, but not everything is included:
- Animal Planet
- BET Her
- Cartoon Network
- Comedy Central
- Comet TV
- Discovery Channel
- Disney Channel
- Disney Junior
- Disney XD
- Food Network
- MTV Classic
- Nat Geo
- Nat Geo Wild
- Nick Jr.
- Smithsonian Channel
- Start TV
- Travel Channel
- Turner Classic Movies
- TV Land
- Universal Kids
- VOD ONLY
- WE tv
What about local channels? YouTube TV does well in most areas. I'm in the Savannah, Georgia TV market and I get the local affiliates of ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS (GPB here), and Telemundo. While that's good, it doesn't compare to what's available over the air via antenna, if you are close enough to a TV tower.
Missing from YouTube TV, but available on antenna in my area are local stations that carry programming from Bounce, CW, multiple PBS stations, multiple Court TV channels, Laff, Circle, Grit, Ion, MeTV, Antenna TV, Comet, TBD, Cozi, and Quest. You may get more via antenna.
If you have an antenna and can pick up several stations, you may not need to have the local channels from YouTube TV.
What about DVR? Well, YouTube TV has one of the best insofar as the amount of content you can store. It's unlimited storage, but not unlimited time to store. Content rolls off after nine months.
What about device compatibility? YouTube TV runs on most of the major devices. Right now, there's a spat between Google and Roku, so if you don't already have YouTube TV installed, you can't download it to your Roku. It's also available on Apple TV, Fire TV, and of course Chromecast with Google TV, as well as the major gaming systems such as Xbox One and PlayStation.
If you need a live streaming service, and if you need local channels, YouTube TV is a great choice. If you can get live stations from an antenna, you may want to look into other, cheaper services such as Philo if you don't need news or sports, or either Sling TV or Vidgo if you want news and sports.
Even if you don't need local channels, you may find the YouTube TV interface much easier to use. It's really good, and better than most. You may find that YouTube TV helps make your Streaming Life so much simpler.
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