YouTube TV, Google's new streaming package of about 40 television channels, is the tech industry's latest bid to get cable-shunning millennials to pay for live TV over the Internet. It offers intriguing advantages over rivals, but it remains hobbled by a limited channel selection.
Don't confuse the YouTube service, which debuted Wednesday, with Netflix, Amazon Prime and other streaming offerings. Like similar efforts from Sony, Dish and AT&T's DirecTV, YouTube TV primarily aims to let you channel surf over the Internet, not stream from an online library of shows and movies. These Internet-cable services can offer live programming, especially sports.
But they also come with some serious drawbacks. While these services are typically cheaper than traditional cable or satellite services, people haven't been signing up in droves. Google is targeting viewers who have never subscribed to cable or satellite TV and are just as happy to get all their video from the Internet; getting them to cough up $35 a month could be a hard sell.
Google — a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. — aims to attract subscribers with more sophisticated program search, personalized recommendations and a more fully featured online DVR than rival services offer. But it faces many of the limitations its rivals have.
YouTube TV, for instance, features staples such as ESPN and major broadcast networks, but lacks key networks such as PBS, CNN and Comedy Central. And initially it will be available in only a handful of major U.S. cities.
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