Google TV vs YouTube TV: What’s the Difference?

YouTube TV and Google TV are two very different services

Google TV is a service that merges the Google Play digital TV and movie store with a dashboard that displays content from other streaming services. YouTube TV is a digital alternative to the traditional cable provider that offers a large number of live TV channels and a Cloud DVR feature to watch content later. We reviewed each service to make it easier for you to choose between the two and better understand how Google TV and YouTube TV work.

General conclusions

google tv

  • The new place to buy or rent content on Google Play Movies & TV.

  • The dashboard also displays the content of linked services.

  • The Google TV app is not available on all platforms, which can be confusing.

youtube tv

  • Unlock more than 85 live TV channels.

  • Unlimited cloud DVR to record content.

  • YouTube TV apps are available on almost all major platforms.

  • Some limited on-demand content

Google TV and YouTube TV are two solid products that offer very different services. YouTube TV is a competitive alternative to cable with over 85 live channels for one fixed monthly price. Additional channels are available as add-ons, and they can all be, and you can record everything with the cloud DVR feature that offers unlimited storage. Those considering switching from their traditional cable provider should check out YouTube TV.

Google TV is a typical digital store that offers purchases and rentals of movies and television series. What sets it apart from its competitors is its ability to display content from connected services and offer suggestions based on user data from Google. However, what holds Google TV back is the limited availability of its apps, which limits the features you can use on your devices.

Availability of platforms and applications: YouTube TV is everywhere, Google TV is not

google tv

  • Integrated in Chromecast with Google TV Sticks and Google TV Smart TV.

  • Google TV app available on Android devices.

  • Purchased media can also be viewed through Google Play Movies and TV and YouTube.

  • Watch list and media viewing functionality available on the web.

youtube tv

  • The YouTube TV app is available on many Samsung, HiSense, Android TV and Vizio smart TVs.

  • Xbox and PlayStation consoles are compatible with the YouTube TV app.

  • YouTube TV app available on Fire Stick, Chromecast with Google TV, and Roku streaming devices.

  • Compatibility with iPhone, iPad and Android apps for smartphones and tablets.

YouTube TV is the more consistent of the two when it comes to app and device compatibility. You can find YouTube TV apps on many popular smart TVs, game consoles, Roku, Fire TV Stick, and Chromecast with streaming devices from Google TV, iPhone and iPad, Apple TV, and Android smartphones and tablets. The experience is also reasonably consistent between each version of the app.

Google TV has an app for Android devices and its functionality is heavily integrated into Chromecast operating systems with Google TV devices and smart TVs running Google TV. It is more or less that. Purchased or rented media can be viewed on other devices via the standard YouTube app or the older Google Play Movies & TV app, but is not compatible with Google’s Watchlist or Dashboard TV.

Live and on-demand content: one is not like the other

google tv

  • Movies and TV shows available to buy and rent on Google.

  • Integration with other services for more content on demand.

  • There is no support for live TV or shows in the Google TV app.

youtube tv

  • Over 85 live channels with the main plan.

  • Additional premium channels available as addons.

  • Some content on demand but limited and with some ads.

Content is the difference between Google TV and YouTube TV. YouTube TV acts as a digital alternative to traditional cable services by offering more than 85 channels streamed live from its apps. All YouTube TV channels are broadcast live, but a built-in DVR cloud service with unlimited storage nonetheless allows you to record shows for later. YouTube TV offers on-demand content from various channels as part of your subscription, but many shows and movies are ad-supported and the selection is limited.

Google TV is a dedicated digital store with on-demand movies and episodes that users can rent or buy. Google TV’s main focus is its digital store, which is a rebranding of Google Play Movies & TV. Google TV apps, Chromecasts, and smart TVs can also display available content from other services you use, but you’ll need to subscribe to those services to view their content. For example, if you have an HBO Max subscription, you’ll see recommendations for your shows and movies on Google TV among native Google TV purchases and suggestions.

Cost: YouTube TV is a cord cutter’s dream

google tv

  • Content must be purchased or unlocked through a separate service.

  • Movies cost around $5 to rent and $5-$25 to buy directly from Google TV.

  • TV episodes cost around $3 each.

youtube tv

  • $64.99 per month to access more than 85 channels.

  • $5-15 for premium channel addons.

  • YouTube TV is cheaper and easier to understand than traditional cable plans.

Comparing the cost of using Google TV and YouTube TV isn’t easy, as each service works slightly differently from the other. The Google TV app and service are free on all compatible devices, but you’ll need to purchase Google shows and movies in the app or sign in to another service to stream additional content.

YouTube TV is much simpler than Google TV. A monthly subscription of $64.99 unlocks over 85 channels. You can add additional premium channels with prices ranging from $5 per month for AMC Premiere to $15 per month for HBO Max. Also available is a $25 package, called the Entertainment Plus package, which includes HBO Max, Showtime and Starz.

Final verdict: Are Google TV and YouTube TV the same thing?

Google TV and YouTube TV are very different streaming services that don’t compete with each other at all. At least not directly.

For the most part, Google TV is an update to Google Play Movies & TV. Users can use it to buy or rent on-demand content directly from Google or access content from other services they’re already subscribed to in one convenient dashboard.

YouTube TV is more of a solution for cord cutters looking to upgrade to a cheaper and more affordable cable solution. Their unlimited cloud DVR is a special bonus, and the number of channels included in the basic plan is impressive. However, the on-demand content on YouTube TV can be random, depending on the series or movie you want to watch.

If you are looking for live TV channels, YouTube TV is for you. However, if you’re looking for a place to buy or rent digital content, Google TV is a solid option.

Does Google TV have YouTube TV?

The YouTube TV app is available for download on smart TVs powered by Google TV and Chromecast with Google TV streaming keys. The app likely came pre-installed on your Google TV hardware, but if not, you should be able to find it in the device’s app store.

frequent questions

  • Can YouTube TV be paired with Google Home?

    If you have a YouTube TV account that streams to your TV and you’ve connected Google Home to your TV, you can control YouTube TV using Google Home voice commands. If you have a Google Home/Nest Hub or other Google-enabled smart display, you can say “Watch YouTube TV” to bring it right to the screen.

  • Can YouTube TV be paid for with Google Play?

    You can pay for YouTube TV with a credit card, PayPal, or Google Play balance. To change the payment method you use, go to your profile picture > Settings > Billing and choose To update next to Payment method. You can view your current payment method, edit your payment method, or add a new payment method.

  • How do I update YouTube on my Google TV?

    To check for available updates, go to your profile icon on the Google TV home screen and select Settings > System > On > Software update > Search for updates. Install all available updates. You may also need to reboot your device by accessing Settings > System > to restart.

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