Today, YouTube TV announced that it is raising prices again. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but they are raising prices due to rising content costs. Now, YouTube TV is going to cost you $72.99 per month (now for new customers, or April 18 for current customers). Who remembers when YouTube TV launched at $29.99? Prices have gone up quite a bit since then.
The price increase is not a surprise, and I’m not even made about it. But, with that price increase comes, fewer channels. In recent years, YouTube TV has lost channels like Bally Sports, which is the leader for regional sports across the country. It serves 14 markets, for the NBA, MLB and NHL. That was likely a big reason for the price at YouTube TV, as sports are expensive, especially regional sports. However, now YouTube TV has also lost MLB Network.
So we’re getting fewer sports on a streaming service that was targeting sports fans. And raising prices. It really sounds like YouTube TV wants you to go back to cable here.
Is cable a good alternative to YouTube TV?
Since YouTube TV announced the price increase, I’ve seen a lot of people saying that they are going back to cable. So I decided to check out Comcast and see how much a comparable cable package would cost. And, it’s about the same. Comcast offers around 125 channels for $70 per month. 125 is still more than what YouTube TV offers, but remember, it’s actually about half that. Since Comcast does double up on channels with non-HD and HD versions.
Now, don’t forget that with cable, you also pay other fees. This includes taxes, regional sports fees, cable box fees and much more. You also don’t get things unlimited DVR, or the ability to watch your content anywhere. Some content on Comcast you can watch outside of your home, but most of it, you cannot.
So is it a good alternative? Not really.
Is cable cheaper than YouTube TV?
Once you add in all of the fees that we mentioned above, a comparable package from Comcast would cost you about $100 per month. So no, it’s not cheaper.
Not to mention, with YouTube TV, you can also share and split the cost with other people. Which I actually do myself. I share YouTube TV with my parents, so I’m actually paying roughly half of what YouTube TV charges here.
Cable is also not as flexible as streaming TV. And DVR is limited to how much space is in your cable box. Versus YouTube TV offering unlimited cloud DVR.
Should I stick with YouTube TV?
I’ve been a YouTube TV member for many years now. And every time YouTube TV raises prices, or it loses a substantial number of channels (like when it was feuding with Disney or NBCUniversal in 2021 and 2022), I take a look at its competitors to see if I should switch. And the answer is usually no.
One of the big features for YouTube TV that keeps me around is, the unlimited cloud DVR. I actually rarely watch anything live, other than sports. And record everything to watch later. So I take advantage of that unlimited cloud DVR. Now, others do have this feature, like Hulu + Live TV and DIRECTV Stream, but they are also more expensive.
Now, DIRECTV Stream does have local sports with Bally Sports (though that might not be the case for long as their contract is coming up soon). However, it is not in their base plan. It’s in the more expensive plan that is $99.99/month. Along with a few other sports channels like the additional ESPN networks and BTN.
Then there’s Hulu + Live TV, which has mostly the same channels as YouTube TV, and adds in the A&E Networks. It also has Disney+ and ESPN+ included for a few bucks less. Which is pretty decent actually. But their live guide is just so bad. And the software is pretty tough to navigate. Making me stick with YouTube TV.
Why does YouTube TV want you to go back to cable?
So why does YouTube TV want you to go back to cable? Well, we don’t actually know that, it is the case. But it definitely seems like it. When YouTube TV launched, it was the cable killer. Offering 35 of the big cable channels, including sports and regional sports for just $30 per month. But now, the service has more than doubled in size and price. While losing a lot of those sports channels.
YouTube TV has fought with content providers over wanting more money. Disputes with Disney, NBCUniversal and Roku all come to mind as of late. And it looks like YouTube TV probably caved in, and now that added cost is being pushed down to the consumer. Which is very unfortunate, but that is how business works.