YouTube TV Is Basically Cable Now

YouTube TV Is Basically Cable Now
YouTube TV offers 4K streams and offline downloads, but it adds to the already hefty price of cord-cutting. (Image: YouTube TV)

YouTube TV has announced its long-awaited 4K Plus streaming option is now available as an add-on to existing subscriptions. The new tier adds streaming 4K content where it’s available, plus offline downloads and unlimited simultaneous streams on your home network.

YouTube TV’s 4K Plus package will add an extra $25 a month to the base subscription price. The introductory price is $15 a month for the first year, and you’ll get a free month, which should give you enough time to gauge whether the feature is worth it in the long term.

Everyone else who is a YouTube TV subscriber will get 5.1 Dolby audio capabilities, rolling out to select devices over the coming weeks. YouTube TV says it’s been one of the biggest feature requests from users. There are also a few new live sports features coming down the pipeline, including the ability to jump to different segments within a recorded broadcast and a medal count at a glance, which will be handy if you’re tracking this summer’s Olympics.

YouTube TV is late to the party in terms of high-res streaming — Amazon Prime and Netflix already support it. YouTube TV offers an edge here for live TV, though it’s pretty pricey once you add it all up.

I’ve been paying for YouTube TV since it launched. I often complain that I’m paying for cable, complete with channels I’ve hidden from the grid because they’re totally uninteresting. (I’m not a sports person — unless you count Bravo’s reality series, which are dramatic enough to be considered playoffs.) My bill is about $100 a month for the base package and HBO Max. Adding the extra $25 for 4K, simultaneous streams, and downloading content for later viewing would make my bill about $125 a month.

Unlike cable, you also have to factor in the cost of internet, which I had to upgrade since my entire household works from home. Television time at the end of the day adds to that bandwidth allowance, which is why we ultimately decided to fork over the cash for the unlimited package.

At the very least, YouTube TV can incentivise customers with its offline downloads. Its direct competitors, Sling TV and Hulu, either don’t offer downloads or only allow it for select titles. YouTube told The Verge that you could download anything recorded from your cloud DVR on the base channel package to the mobile app for offline playback. However, that doesn’t include premium content, so if you were hoping to bypass HBO’s lack of downloadable video, you’re out of luck for now.

Head to your YouTube TV settings, and you'll see this option pop up to add on to your monthly bill.  (Screenshot: Florence Ion / Gizmodo) Head to your YouTube TV settings, and you’ll see this option pop up to add on to your monthly bill. (Screenshot: Florence Ion / Gizmodo)

If you’re curious to try the new 4K Plus tier, you can sign up for it in the YouTube TV settings.