Are you a YouTube TV subscriber who's looking for a little more customization with your streaming experience?
The popular live streaming TV service just announced some major new additions to its menu of options that should be real crowd pleasers … if you're willing to fork over the extra cash to unlock them.
YouTube TV already is one of the most expensive live TV streaming services with a base monthly subscription price of $64.99.
Is it worth paying even more to receive these new upgrades? Let’s talk it through.
YouTube TV’s 4K Plus Upgrade Offers 3 New Features for Subscribers
YouTube TV is now offering a “4K Plus” upgrade that offers subscribers access to three new features:
All great things, right? There's a catch. You're going to have to pay an additional monthly fee of $19.99 for access to these features.
YouTube TV is offering up a free month of the “4K Plus” upgrade. So if you want to test-drive the new features, you’ll have to opt in to that on your YouTube TV account menu.
After that, you can get these features for a year at the rate of $9.99 per month. Be careful with this, though, as the fine print says that the price will automatically go up to $19.99 when your 12-month discount expires.
That appears to be a limited-time offer, so you may want to jump on it quickly if this feature bundle is something you know you’ll want.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the new features.
YouTube TV Now Will Offer 4K Streaming When Available
The title of this “4K Plus” package advertises what YouTube TV considers the lead upgrade.
As the technology becomes more readily available and affordable, many people now have 4K televisions or 4K streaming devices in their households.
What you may not know is that most live TV streaming services are not actually providing 4K content. YouTube TV is seeking to rectify that with this upgraded offering.
“With 4K Plus, you’ll have access to watch major sports events this summer in 4K, plus live content from networks like NBC and ESPN, sports like college football and basketball later this year and on-demand content from FX, Discovery Networks, Tastemade and more.”Kathryn Smith
Product Manager, YouTube TV
It’s worth noting that, in order for YouTube TV to stream content in 4K, it must be offered in 4K resolution by the channel airing the show, movie or game.
What Is 4K?
You may be wondering what the advantage of access to 4K broadcasts actually provides you. It’s a good question.
The term “4K” is a reference to the number of pixels that your television or streaming device uses to display the content that you’re streaming. In the most basic terms, the more pixels your TV uses to display the picture, the crisper the image should appear.
This is particularly useful for watching live sports and action movies, which have quick moving frames that are prone to blurring on low-pixel televisions.
Leading television and phone producer Samsung explains 4K TV this way:
"A 4K TV is a TV set with 4K resolution. That means the TV has 3,840 horizontal pixels and 2,160 vertical pixels, for a total of about 8.3 million pixels. On TV product specifications, resolutions are usually shown as "3840 x 2160" for 4K TVs.
"Resolution is a term that tells you just how densely these tiny dots, the pixels, are put together on the display. Individual pixels collect together to make up the image you see on the screen, so the higher the pixel count the higher the resolution. The "K" in 4K stands for Kilo (1000), meaning a TV that has achieved a horizontal resolution of about 4,000 pixels."
You Can Now Download Content for Offline Consumption
To YouTube TV’s credit, you’re getting more than just 4K streaming with this new upgrade.
The streaming service is offering a couple more of the most requested upgrades as a part of this package. The ability to download content to watch offline is one of those requested features.
This feature allows you to download content from your unlimited cloud DVR library to your smartphone or tablet via the YouTube TV app.
This will allow you to stream hours of content without needing access to WiFi or your mobile data. This is particularly useful for things like long flights on an airplane, road trips or stays in areas that don’t have internet access.
YouTube TV Will Allow Unlimited At-Home Streams
YouTube TV’s basic package has a well-established policy of three concurrent streams from a single account.
The 4K Plus package will let you expand on that while you’re at home.
YouTube TV is offering unlimited streams with the 4K package if you’re connected to your home WiFi. This will allow you to have as many televisions, tablets and smartphones streaming YouTube TV content as you’d like — all at one time.
However, you’re still going to be limited to three concurrent streams for devices that are not connected to that network.
This likely is YouTube TV’s way of guarding against people who share their passwords with other households.
More About YouTube TV
There are some quick things you should know about YouTube TV beyond the additions I’ve outlined in this article.
Team Clark considers this service to be one of the top options in the live TV streaming market thanks to its family-friendly content and functionality, the wide variety of channels that include loads of live sports and the unlimited cloud DVR functionality that comes included with the base subscription price.
Money expert Clark Howard is a YouTube TV subscriber.
“What interests me about YouTube TV is the unlimited DVR and the versatility with how many people can be watching at the same time and how many individual accounts you can have,” Clark says.
Check out our full review of the streaming service here, and compare it to other live TV streaming services here.
For most streaming customers, the basic YouTube TV package is going to be more than sufficient for your household’s needs.
This new 4K Plus package is designed for those consumers who are looking for enhanced performance.
Candidates for this new upgrade are people who travel without access to quality internet speeds for streaming, sports fanatics who have 4K compatible TVs and customers who have a large number of streamers in their household.
My suggestion is that you try the month-long free trial of the 4K Plus package to test how well it works on your devices and then make a decision on whether it’s worth spending the extra money.
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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com