One of the best features of YouTube TV should not be a surprise to any of us.
The search function — thank you, Google — is outstanding. I’ve used it many times to find live sports games. Not only is it fast and efficient but it helped me uncover hidden gems that I wasn’t even aware of before I did the search — like NBA match-ups and soccer games. I’d search for the name of a favorite team and in seconds could record upcoming matches.
Not so much anymore, but not for any reason related to COVID-19 or the search.
Starting at the end of this month, the Internet-based streaming service (which does not require a dedicated set-top box) is raising their price up to $65 per month.
That’s quite a jump from the introductory price I remember from a few years ago, when it cost only $40 per month and included local channels. At that low price, you might wonder why you’d pay for cable service, which tends to cost more these days. At $65, it’s a tough sell.
One reason is that television has splintered into apps and not channels. We don’t watch any of these shows the same way anymore, although I’m still a Dish Network fan (I really like the ability to find on-demand movies and search for network shows). Many of us now watch our shows using Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and a host of streaming media apps, paying for each of them. Just when we think it’s time to abandon one app, along comes another compelling show.
One quick example — I’m a sucker for any fantasy movie. I had watched The Mandalorian when it came out then canceled my Disney+ subscription. All it took is one low-rated movie called Artemis Fowl to get me to sign-up again. That is the primary reason YouTube TV is going to be in trouble. Not only is the price too high, and live sports are not a thing right now, but YouTube TV is not exactly known for their original programming. My theory is that the price hike is a way to increase revenue before the service goes belly up completely.
Something is a little rotten in Denmark. Another favorite app of mine is Google Play Music and it will be going away soon as well. I like it because of the recommended new releases and the algorithms they use. In fact, even though I don’t subscribe to the paid version, I still check the new releases quite often. YouTube TV seems to have a similar problem — it wasn’t able to differentiate itself enough, offer original programs, or appeal to a discerning viewership.
What could save YouTube TV is not related to those programs, the cost, or the search — it’s further market splintering and some kind of bundling. What I’d like to see is a technical win with the service — a way to add other apps that integrate right into YouTuber TV (doubtful) or at least some other channels beyond the basics they currently offer. I don’t mind picking YouTube TV as a primary way to watch network shows and (eventually) sports, but it needs to convince me that the app is worth paying the extra subscription amount for that to happen.
On the plus side, it does seem like YouTube solved their early bandwidth problems.
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