YouTube TV has now officially launched in select markets with more to follow in the near future–and it may just change the entire media landscape. With a strong foundation in media content creation and delivery, YouTube is set to shake up the way we look at TV. While I have yet to try YouTube TV for myself, I do know that YouTube currently employs specific technologies that I expect to remain in place when YouTube TV launches.
YouTube became popular because of the technology that powers it. Years ago, YouTube was a pioneering service that some people never knew they wanted. Early on, billionaires were afraid to invest YouTube because they didn’t believe that the service could be lucrative, but Google had the foresight to offer a video service that could be unique as well as profitable. The technologies that are available within the giant video service will give YouTube TV some distinctive advantages over its competitors.
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- 4K: YouTube has more 4K content than any other provider. Period. The people and companies that use YouTube to share videos have latched onto the 4K craze more than any major cable or media company has even thought to. 4K gaming, 4K movies, and 4K sports are infiltrating the homes of people with 4K capable television and most of it is provided by YouTube. The first 4K content I ever witnessed was on YouTube and I expect YouTube TV to offer a wide variety of 4K video.
- 60fps: High frame-rate video content is a topic of great debate. Classic videophiles and film buffs will swear off films that are recorded at high frame-rates or artificially enhanced to run at 120/240/480hz. But younger viewers and sports enthusiasts find high framerate video to be a blessing in certain situations and media types.
The younger YouTube generation consumes most of its video content online instead of on a traditional television broadcast. Because of this, these younger viewers are used to watching content that’s often times recorded at 60 frames per second. One of the most popular uses of YouTube for the younger generation is watching other people play video games online, which really benefits from high frame rates in most games.
- Unlimited Cloud DVR: Most cable companies and satellite video companies now provide at least one DVR set-top box with most services. A lot of people that have used DVRs over the past decade have found great benefit in having a simple to use box that can record multiple television programs to be watched later. But what if you had a DVR that never ran out of space, could be accessed by any connected device, and did not need to be plugged in and connected at home? YouTube TV’s DVR service promises just that.
- Wireless 5G: Although YouTube is not directly responsible for developing and delivering 5G services, it will greatly benefit from and help promote this new network technology. 5G services are set to arrive in about a dozen cities in 2017. 5G connected devices will have the capability of connecting at 20Gbps downstream and 10Gbps upstream. This is beyond enough throughput to stream high-resolution video and audio to a connected smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Let’s just hope major carriers allow us to keep our unlimited plans.
- VR/3D: Virtual Reality has been around for quite some time, but is finally starting to gain some steam with Gear VR, Vive, PSVR and Google Cardboard allowing for a wide array of delivery systems. YouTube has made a few steps towards joining the fray by offering VR/3D/360 degree videos for content creators that want to share those types of videos. Many tech insiders and investors are counting on virtual reality to make a big splash in the entertainment and education industries. With YouTube, Alphabet has a direct line to offering virtual reality experiences inside YouTube TV, if they so choose.
YouTube TV is set to start at $35 a month. YouTube is promising ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC & will have AMC, BBC America, IFC, Sundance TV, WE tv, and more in the near future. If this advertised price remains as more content is added, this would make YouTube TV very appealing when compared to something like SlingTV, especially with the inclusion of YouTube Red. Sling currently offers 50 channels for $40 a month. This is a fair price considering most viewers can find something to watch inside what’s being offered, but where Sling is lacking is with local broadcasting and the availability of higher frame-rate content and unique programming–at least for now.
YouTube TV has not announced options for varying packages but has offered a few other details. One of the most appealing being that up to six different accounts can be tied to your YouTube TV subscription. Having the capability to share one account within a family amongst six different users is a great advantage for YouTube TV.
YouTube TV will be directly competing with traditional satellite and cable companies. While checking Comcast’s website I quickly discovered there are multiple pricing schemes and multiple package offerings. This confusion has led many people to ditch cable and look for other offerings like Netflix and Hulu.
Cable and satellite promotions, bundles, and timed offers have become a huge sore spot in the cable and satellite world. Many customers want TV only and don’t want to bundle more to get fair pricing. My previous experience working for a large communications company has taught me that people want to choose things individually and to avoid price surprises in the future.
AT&T recently acquired DirecTV because both companies saw the benefits of offering data services that could be paired with media properties and access. Currently, AT&T has unlimited data plans that can be paired with television service bundles through DirecTV. I found it to be a great exercise in patience and understanding while reading through AT&T’s bundling options and pricing. Sometimes simplicity is key.
If YouTube TV can offer a great service that’s simple and easy to understand, it may quickly become the best option for existing and future cord cutters and more importantly new customers that have never had cable or satellite services before.
If you have children, like I do, you’ve probably noticed many of them turn to YouTube for their entertainment and edutainment needs. My son is a frequent user of YouTube and my daughter has just started to delve into DIY projects, makeup tutorials, cartoons, science videos and general humor productions–all of which can be found on YouTube. Many children go to YouTube first, before any other service when looking for entertaining video content.
YouTube could benefit greatly if it continues to meld its video content offerings with unique creations and traditional television broadcasts. Moving forward, if YouTube wants to continue to expand its customer base while offering content for multiple demographics, it behooves the company to expand services with things like YouTube TV.
I am very excited to see what type of impact YouTube TV can make on the media market and if YouTube can draw in users from different demographics. Can YouTube TV become the main place to watch all, or even most programming, or will it have a hard time branching out from its roots in new and unique streaming video?