The price change took effect on April 10, 2019 for new users and takes hold service-wide on May 13 for existing members.
There's no escaping this price increase with all users now paying $49.99 per month for access.
If you are an existing user then how much YouTube has now increased by will be dependent on whether you were grandfathered into the now dream-like $35 per month plan or not. Regardless, the minimum it has gone up for all users is $10 per month and that’s a fair amount on a total monthly bill of $40.
So is YouTube TV still worth it for new users? Is YouTube TV still worth it for existing subscribers? Well, maybe.
One plan to rule them all
One of the better things YouTube TV has done is to ensure there’s no FOMO by offering one straight-up plan to all subscribers. For example, DIRECTV NOW used to offer four main plans and even during its recent downsizing it still offers two plans. Although there’s still a number of other plans you can take advantage of as well.
Therefore, one of the big selling points with YouTube TV is its simplicity. Yes, you can add on premium networks and channels for more money each month, but basically you have one plan option and it’s likely to be a suitable enough plan for most users.
There's no upselling here and no YouTube TV subscriber is missing out on any channels just because they opt for what would otherwise be considered the basic package.
Premium features without the premium cost
That same simplicity approach also extends to the additional features.
Arguably the most notable one is the unlimited cloud-based DVR. Not only do some services charge you an additional fee each month for DVR functionality, but they will likely charge you even more if you want that DVR to be unlimited. With YouTube TV, it’s all included in the price.
The same goes for simultaneous streams. Services such as these are beneficial to families as they offer the option to easily and instantly watch TV mostly anywhere, and on mostly any device.
However, some services limit the number of simultaneous streams you can have – unless you pay more.
YouTube TV offers one of the best plans in this respect with the ability to stream at the same time on three different devices. Again, there’s no upselling involved so the limit of three is a hard limit.
Speaking of multiple users, YouTube TV is probably the most family-friendly service in general as it allows for six different accounts to be connected to the one monthly payment plan. This is again fairly high compared to the competition and each account comes with its own individual DVR – another bonus.
Pay more, but get more
Where YouTube TV deserves some credit compared to others is that it doesn't seem to just increase prices alone. Instead, the service has to date added channels each time it has increased the price.
This might not sound like much, but getting more for more money at least creates somewhat of a value-based equilibrium. For example, companies will usually increase the price without offering anything at all in return.
In the case of DIRECTV NOW’s recent price hike, new customers were not only told they were going to be paying higher rates going forward, but also they would get less channels than what was offered before. Overall, this resulted in DIRETV NOW becoming a far less value-oriented product compared to the old DIRECTV NOW product.
That's never been the case with YouTube TV with the 2019 price increase coming alongside the addition of eight new channels. The same occurred when the 2018 price increase came in with YouTube TV once again increasing the channel count.
In 2018 YouTube added a number of Turner-related channels, and in 2019 it is the turn of Discovery-owned channels.
This does not necessarily mean that any future price rise will also come with an increase in the channel lineup, but at the very least it would suggest YouTube TV does try to offer more at the same time as asking for more money. Not everyone does.
For reference, here’s the full list of channels now included with the $49.99 plan.
Choose your provider wisely
YouTube TV has remained a powerful option due to its price coming in lower than the competition. That’s no longer the case and this means price should no longer be a reason to consider YouTube TV.
Yes, you can stream on three devices. Yes, you can have up to six accounts. Yes, you have access to unlimited cloud-based DVR. But none of that should matter if those benefits/features do not fit in with your viewing habits.
The only thing that should matter is the channel access. For example, YouTube TV offers access to a greater number of channels than DIRECTV NOW for the exact same price.
However, DIRECTV NOW bundles HBO into its $50 plan. So if you don’t need those additional channels, and you are already paying $15 per month for HBO anyway, then the TV through DIRECTV NOW is really only $35 per month.
The same is true for Hulu. Its “with live TV” service currently costs $44.99 per month making it the cheapest of these three providers. In addition, that price includes access to the on-demand Hulu which is typically priced at $5.99 per month.
So if you are already a Hulu on-demand subscriber then opting for its TV solution means you’ll be paying less than $40 per month for the TV access.
Considering Hulu upped the price in January 2019, it seems unlikely the current Hulu pricing will increase again anytime soon.