YouTube's streaming TV service is finally live

People in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Philadelphia can buy a YouTube TV membership right now for $35 per month following a free one-month trial.

Those who are able to tune into YouTube TV on Wednesday won't find anything different from what was unveiled in late February. Other U.S. markets are "coming soon", Google says, though the company has not announced any specifics.

Launching today in select US cities, for $35 a month YouTube TV subscribers will have access to live primetime programming from ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and ESPN, as well as cable channels like FX, USA, SyFy, Bravo, and the Disney Channel.

YouTube TV initially offers about 40 channels to subscribers in five of the largest USA markets.

Ultimately, though, YouTube TV is about YouTube getting more of its core users - 18- to 34-year-olds - to spend more time on its platforms.

Google said that AMC, BBC America, IFC, Sundance TV, WE tv and BBC World News will soon be included in the service as well. Viacom-owned channels including MTV and Comedy Central are not part of the lineup. And there's lots of competition at hand - Hulu is reportedly developing its own bundle of channels available by streaming, joining services already offered by DirecTV Now, Dish Network's Sling TV and PlayStation Vue. Sundance Now and Shudder will also be available as individual add-ons, joining Fox Soccer Plus and Showtime.

Would you be up for ditching your cable or satellite provider for YouTube?

For storing content, YouTube TV gives you an unlimited cloud DVR which can record as many shows as you'd like and store them for however long you want. No other streaming service has managed to pull this off seamlessly, so if YouTube's tech is as robust as the early reviews claim, this could be the real game-changer. Ad revenue will also be used to support the creators of regular YouTube videos shown on the streaming service.

The service still has some of the annoyances of traditional cable TV, like religious geo-locking.

  • Joe Gonzales