This topic has long been the main concern of every TV enthusiast and YouTube streamer. Progressively, people have been leaning more towards the idea of cutting the cord, especially due to the popularity of many up-and-coming streaming services. But YouTube has been around for almost two decades now. Not only this, it has expanded further by introducing new and exciting features such as YouTube TV which was first founded in 2017.
Arguably, this platform has been gaining more and more followers each day. This could put the future of cable TV in the grey area. However, there are still certain features that may distinguish cable television from YouTube TV. Both services have their own perks and again, both have their downsides as well. In order to explore this pressing question of will YouTube replace cable TV? Let’s take a deep dive into the various features of both services.
1. Channel Lineup
Channel lineups are one of the major things that may impress you into opting for a certain service. This highly important factor sets cable TV apart from YouTube TV. Currently, YouTube TV offers around 108 channels which may look quite a number but when compared with the packages of cable television, you will know that most of the cable providers offer more than this number.
Most of the major cable TV providers in the country offer a wide range of channels and that too at high-definition. One of such is Cox cable TV which currently offers more than 140 channels to its consumers. The list of HD channels is also quite impressive. You can watch ESPN, HGTV, A&E, CNBC, and many more.
With YouTube TV, you get the local channels like ABC, CBS, NBC, etc. However, there are a couple of channels that some might like to add to the channel lineup of this platform. People who love to watch programs related to wrestling might want to switch to cable TV. In addition to this, the 4K Plus YouTube TV package does not offer much content that could be of interest to the vast majority of people.
Moreover, many regional sports networks are not available on YouTube TV. This could be a huge deal-breaker for cable TV viewers, especially for the sports fanatics, when it comes to YouTube replacing the traditional way of watching television.
So, the bottom line is, if you are looking for a large array of various channels then opt for cable television. However, if your interest mainly lies with local ones, then YouTube should be sufficient.
2. Cloud DVR
Here is the thing, YouTube does offer cloud DVR storage for all those people who are worried that they would miss the episode of their favorite show. The storage is unlimited but it is only for nine months. After the period of nine months, the recordings will expire.
On the other hand, the recordings on your cable box DVR stay forever. You might be thinking that nine months is a pretty long time but what if you want to keep certain recordings for longer than that? What if you decide to binge-watch Rick and Morty with your friends on the next Christmas break?
In addition to this, YouTube TV does not offer the option of viewing the shows offline. The DVR is cloud-based which means that if you are planning to watch your shows while you are traveling, of course without using the mobile data, then YouTube TV is not going to help you.
On the contrary to this, cable TV is rather more flexible. It not only lets you store content for a longer period but some of the cable providers also give you the option to watch your favorite TV shows, movies, and other video-based content on the go.
3. Multiple Streams
Will the entire family be able to watch YouTube just the way they used to watch television together? The short answer is yes. YouTube TV allows each member of the house to watch up to three streams at the same time. This makes the case stronger for YouTube TV.
You can even get six accounts if you opt for the premium membership. In this way, everyone in the house can have their own separate cloud DVR storage spaces and personal settings. This is the perk of getting yourself hooked on an online streaming service.
With cable TV, you get to watch whatever is on the channel for that specific time. The war between remotes becomes inevitable when you live with your family. In the end, you have to watch whatever the other person decides to watch.
But not with online television services. They allow you to watch things at your own time and convenience. You don’t have to fight with your brother to give you the remote so you can catch up on what has happened on the last episode of British Bake Off.
Now that we have talked about the major features that distinguish the two services from each other. Let’s address the elephant in the room;
Can YouTube Replace Cable TV?
It depends on multiple factors. Do you think you can use YouTube in a way that it can replace your cable television connection? Does it offer all the channels that you need to have a good viewing experience? Along with all these questions, do you think that it comes at the price point that you believe suits you better? If the answer to all these questions is yes, then YouTube can replace cable television, but for you specifically.
YouTube lets you watch videos on your own time. You can watch them on repeat for umpteen time and watch your favorite TV shows as well. It offers the services of multiple streaming screens so you don’t have to wait until it is your turn to have control of the television remote. But then again, cable television provides you a list of way more channels and it also stores your recorded episodes for an indefinite time. We can’t say the same thing for YouTube TV.
The debate of who will replace who is probably going to continue for longer than we can anticipate. It has become more of a personal choice than a preference for everyone. Your inclination might be towards YouTube TV, while your friend’s choice could be cable television.
For instance, you may get the channels you like such as FX, Hallmark, Freeform, or National Geographic but these are the channels that only you might watch. It does not include the premium cable networks like HBO or Showtime (without the add-on). YouTube TV does have Disney Channel but as of now, Disney+ is not part of the plan. Moreover, you may not have access to some of the movies that you would easily be able to watch on cable television.
Will YouTube really be able to replace cable TV? It all comes down to your experience. Both services are different than one another. Each one has an upper hand in one aspect, while the other service wins the race in another feature. You need to weigh your own options because the trend of cord-cutting might be increasing but so is the resurgence of cable television ever since the pandemic hit the world. This is why we don’t see YouTube replacing cable television anytime soon.