YouTube TV has launched a new add-on that lets viewers stream shows in 4K or save them to a DVR for offline viewing. The YouTube TV 4K Plus package is available from today for $19.99 a month. That's on top of the standard $64.99 a month YouTube TV subscription, so it's not cheap.
YouTube will also add 5.1 Dolby surround sound to its streaming devices. The feature will be available on select streaming devices starting in the "next few weeks", according to Kathryn Smith, product manager at YouTube TV.
YouTube announced it was readying 4K streaming and offline downloads a couple of months ago, but there was no mention of how much subscribers would have to pay. To soften the blow, YouTube says early adopters can sign up to 4K Plus for half price – $9.99 a month – for the first year. All existing YouTube TV subscribers will get a free 30-day trial (handy for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics).
One slight problem is that YouTube TV doesn't actually offer much 4K content right now. There are basically a handful of movies, including the likes of Blade Runner and Spider-Man: Homecoming, plus "selected live and on-demand content from Discovery, ESPN, Fox Sports, FX, Nat Geo, NBC Sports, and Tastemade".
The company plans to rapidly expand its 4K offering but, for now, offline playback, which lets you download DVR recordings, could prove the most attractive reason to shell out the extra for 4K Plus. The feature requires the YouTube TV app, however, so you can't access it through your web browser.
Last but not least, 4K Plus unlocks unlimited simultaneous streaming over home Wi-Fi. YouTube TV users are otherwise limited to three concurrent streams whereas rival streaming service Netflix allows 4K streaming on up to four devices.
Google's cable TV replacement service began streaming in 2017 and is restricted to the United States. Subscribers pay $65 per month for 85+ live TV channels including NBC, ABC, CBS, ESPN, CNN, MTV, Discovery, TBS, NFL Network and more.
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