Roku makes the most popular streamers and is a perennial favorite of CNET's streamer and smart TV reviews, which are the best values on the market. Apple TV is more expensive but still highly recommended for its polish and raft of capabilities. Between the two they account for more than half of the streaming player installed base in the U.S.
The launch of YouTube TV on both platforms means that Roku and Apple TV users now have access to yet another alternative to traditional cable TV. The YouTube TV app is the same as the one currently available on Android TV, Xbox One and other platforms, complete with access to the service's unlimited cloud DVR, personalized recommendations and a full grid-style program guide.
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YouTube TV, not to be confused with the free version of YouTube filled with music videos, late-night TV clips and cute puppies, costs $35 per month and appeals to cable TV cord cutters . Its package of 40-plus live TV channels includes locals such as ABC, CBS, Foxand NBC as well as cable stalwarts like AMC, ESPN, theDisney Channel, Fox News and Bravo. (Disclosure: CBS is the parent company of CNET and Showtime.) Initially restricted to a handful of cities, YouTube TV is now available in more than 80 markets nationwide , covering 80 percent of the U.S. population.
When YouTube TV first launched in April 2017 it was available on PCs, phones and tablets, but the only way to watch it on an actual TV was by casting from your phone to a Chromecast. Now it can be used on the following TV devices:
YouTube TV's competitors, including Sling TV , Hulu with Live TV , PlayStation Vue and DirecTV Now , are all currently available on most of the same devices, as well as Amazon Fire TV and (in the case of Vue) PlayStation. YouTube TV has not announced plans forFire TV or PlayStation apps.
Like its competitors, YouTube TV offers a free trial for new subscribers. In this case it's well-timed to catch some of the biggest broadcast events of the year.
First published February 1. Updated February 2 with the addition of the Apple TV app.