(credit: Flickr: Rego Korosi )
YouTube announced its long-rumored YouTube TV service last week, plunging the online video platform into the competitive world of live TV streaming. On the surface, the $35-per-month YouTube TV looks like a good deal: dozens of broadcast and cable channels (including numerous sports networks), a cloud-based DVR service, up to three simultaneous streams, and more. YouTube TV will launch sometime later this year, but there is already a lot of competition for the service.

The biggest challengers—DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, and Sling TV—offer many similar features to YouTube TV, and that will undoubtably make it difficult for aspiring cord-cutters to know if they should wait for YouTube’s service or take the plunge now.
To aid in that decision, here’s a breakdown of these four TV-streaming services and their major features.

Specs compared: TV-streaming services

YouTube TV
DirecTV Now
PlayStation Vue
Sling TV

Monthly price

Starting number of channels

Included sports channels
ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, ESPN News, SEC Network, CSN, NBC Sports Network, Fox Sports, BTN, FS1, FS2
ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports
ESPN, ESPN2, FS1, FS2, NBC Sports Network

Available add-ons
Showtime and Fox Soccer Plus, but price details unknown
HBO for $5/month, Cinemax for $5/month, Showtime for $8/month
Epix for $4/month, Espanol Pack (nine channels) for $5/month, numerous standalone channels including HBO
Multiple add-on packages ranging from $5-$15/month

Yes, limited by channel
Yes, in beta

DVR storage
Cloud-based, unlimited storage, videos saved for nine months
Cloud-based, shows saved for 28 days
Cloud-based, 100 hours included


Number of simultaneous streams

Device compatibility
Android, iOS, Chromecast
Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast
Android, iOS, Apple TV, PS3, PS4, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast
Android, iOS, Apple TV, Android TV, Chromecast, Roku, Amazon Fire TV and tablets, Xbox One

The first thing to note about YouTube TV is that it will launch with just one subscription tier.

Everything the service offers will be included in the $35-per-month price—at least for now.

As YouTube and Google land deals with other networks, we could see YouTube TV expand into higher-priced subscription tiers.

But since there’s just one plan right now, it makes it easy to compare it to the base-tier packages of DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, and Sling TV.
In this comparison, we’re only looking at live TV-streaming services, not online video streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, or Amazon Video.
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