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If you’re trying to lower your monthly bills for 2018, start by looking at what you pay for TV service.
There are a number of live TV streaming options for under $40 per month. They could be a great alternative if your traditional cable or satellite provider won’t work with you on the price.
Team Clark puts YouTube TV to the test
Money expert Clark Howard has tried several streaming services and likes what he sees with YouTube TV.
“My buddy was able to go straight from watching something on his phone, clicked one button with YouTube TV and it was on his TV screen,” Clark said. “It’s so intuitive the way it works.”
Here are some of the things I learned about the YouTube TV streaming service:
1. What channels do you get with YouTube TV?
When you’re trying to choose a live TV streaming service, the channel lineup is perhaps the most important thing to consider. YouTube TV has your local channels, plus cable news, sports and entertainment networks.
Here’s a snapshot of the networks included in a YouTube TV membership:
ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, AMC, BBC America, BBC World News, Big Ten Network, Bravo, CBS Sports Network, Chiller, CNBC, CW, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, E!, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews, FOX Business, FOX News, Freeform, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, FX, FXM, FXX, Golf Channel, IFC, MSNBC, NBCSN, Nat Geo, Nat Geo Wild, Newsy, Olympic Channel, Oxygen, Pop, SEC Network, Sundance TV, Syfy, Telemundo, Tennis Channel, Universal Kids, Universo, USA, WE tv
TNT, Adult Swim, TBS, CNN, HLN, Cartoon Network, truTV and Turner Classic Movies were added in February 2018.
Check out what YouTube TV looks like from the mobile app. To watch live TV, scroll through the list of networks or click on the magnifying glass icon to search for something specific.
From the home screen, you can also browse shows and movies based on interests — like drama, action and comedy.
2. Does YouTube TV include unlimited DVR?
YouTube TV makes it easy to find live TV shows, but it’s equally as simple to record shows and movies to watch at a later time with its cloud DVR function.
Users can record as many shows as they want to — no storage limit — and recordings are kept for up to nine months.
By clicking the icon highlighted in the image below, I set up a recording for CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory,” which was then moved to my personal library.
3. How do you stream YouTube TV on your TV?
You can always watch YouTube TV on your phone, tablet or computer, but what if you just want to watch your favorite shows on the big screen?
I was a little intimidated by the process, but it’s not difficult. You just have to plug the Chromecast into your TV and download the Google Home app for step-by-step directions to set up the device.
YouTube TV has previously offered a free Chromecast for new members, which normally sells for $35.
Important note: I’m using a first generation Chromecast. YouTube TV says this older version may lead to a higher rate of errors and longer load times.
It has been taking about 15 seconds for most shows to load, but I haven’t had any other glitches.
Don’t have a Chromecast? Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, Xbox One and some Samsung and LG TVs are now supported. Click here for an updated list.
4. Can a family share YouTube TV?
There are six accounts included with a YouTube TV membership for family members and roommates to receive their own unique recommendations and cloud DVR. Each household can watch up to three streams at a time.
For example, I streamed one program on my TV and had a different show playing on my computer:
Not ready to switch? Call your cable or satellite provider!
Just like Clark, I’ve been impressed with YouTube TV so far. But before you make any moves, comparison-shop and give your current cable or satellite provider a call to see if they offer a skinny bundle at a lower rate.
If that’s the case, you may be able to get more of the channels you want for less than you’re paying right now!
YouTube TV has announced that it’s increasing the monthly price from $35 to $40 for new members starting March 13. You can sign up before then to lock in the lower rate.