YouTube TV launched in April to solid reviews (including ours) back in April, but it wasn’t perfect. The single biggest criticism was that it only worked in five major U.S. cities: New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia.
It took a few months, but you can add another 10 U.S. cities to the list.
YouTube announced on Thursday that its live TV streaming service is now available in the following cities:
Live TV from ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC is available in the first nine listed metro areas, with Dallas-Fort Worth getting CBS, FOX, NBC, and on-demand prime-time (no local news) programming from ABC.
Fifteen total cities is a good start, but it’s still a ways from bringing live TV streaming to everybody, everywhere.
On a recent trip in Denver, Colorado, I planned on streaming the second to last game of the NBA Finals on YouTube TV, only to remember the service doesn’t work there. Denver’s still not on the list, but at least the service is available in more places now.
YouTube doesn’t ever explain what the holdup is on expanding TV more broadly, but agreements over what can and can’t be streamed from local networks and the amount of money that changes hands between YouTube TV and content providers is likely to blame. That’s why Dallas-Fort Worth isn’t getting local news from ABC.
Wrangling control of content from stubborn broadcast and cable networks is a pain in the ass, and requires tough negotiation. These backdoor meetings take lots of time. So if your city isn’t supported yet, hopefully it will in the future.
When we reviewed YouTube TV, we praised it for its beautiful, minimalist, easy-to-use mobile-first app, its 40 channels including YouTube Red, and its free unlimited cloud DVR. There are a handful of alternatives such as Sling TV, DirecTV Now, and PlayStation Vue, and some of the packages are cheaper, but YouTube offers what we think is the best value.
Now that YouTube TV is in more markets, it’s finally becoming the service it should have been at launch.