The news that YouTube TV, the largest live TV streaming provider in the US with over 5 million subscribers, is getting more expensive is neither welcome nor surprising. It’s just the latest price increase among cross-platform video distributors, which is industry parlance for services like YTTV, Hulu With Live TV, FuboTV, Sling TV, and DirecTV Stream. And the prices from four of those five providers are dangerously close to what you’d pay for traditional cable.
But in a slightly bizarre turn of events, the monthly bill for some YouTube TV subscribers, including myself, will actually go down slightly starting in April, when the new rates go into effect.
As a quick recap, YouTube TV’s base plan is increasing from $65/mo to $73/mo. That’s about a 12.3% increase. But at the same time, the YouTube TV 4K Plus add-on, which gives you some live sports and some on-demand content in that higher resolution, is dropping in price from $20 a month to $10 a month. (And the new promotional period will get you that add-on for $4.99 a month for the first year.)
You also have to factor in taxes a bit, and we can certainly argue about whether 4K Plus is worth it. But the end result is this: my monthly bill will drop a couple of dollars a month, from $85 to $83, despite the base plan price increase. And for what it’s worth, my March bill cuts even further, combining the current $65 base plan rate with the cheaper $10 4K Plus rate. (That’s all before taxes.)
We’re all going to complain about streaming services raising prices, and it’s an individual decision if it’s “worth it” for you. I can’t answer that for you, and it’s a good time to remind people that there is no such thing as the “best” streaming service. They are all different, and it is easy to cancel one and start another.
And that means it’s all a numbers game. You have to do the math. You should maintain at least a broad understanding of what you’re paying each month across all of your services, and you should do an audit at least once a year and decide if you’re still okay with what you’re spending.
And if what you’re spending is more than you think it’s worth to you, it’s time to look into some YouTube TV alternatives.