YouTube TV available nationwide in time for the Super Bowl

YouTube TV’s detail screen for Super Bowl 53 as seen on a TCL Roku TV.

Sarah Tew/Techhnews

This year there’s more ways to stream the Super Bowl live over the Internet than ever. And if you live in Bangor or Reno or Wilmington, you can now add one more to the list.

Starting today, YouTube TV is available in 95 additional TV markets, including those three, and will roll out nationwide in a matter of days.

Until now the $40-per-month service, which offers a slate of live TV channels streamed over the Internet as an alternative to traditional cable TV, was only available in certain markets. It launched in April 2017 in five US cities — Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and the San Francisco Bay Area — and has steadily expended since, reaching 100 markets in August 2018.

With today’s expansion it blows up to 195 markets, which covers 98 percent of US households. The remaining two percent, aka the rest of the country, will get YouTube TV within days, a YouTube representative confirmed to Techhnews.

Not to be confused with the free version of YouTube available all over the world, YouTube TV costs $40 per month and is restricted to viewers in the US. It competes against cord-cutter live TV services like Sling TV, DirecTV Now, Hulu with Live TV and PlayStation Vue, most of which have been available nationwide since launch.

In addition to typical “cable” channels like AMC, Bravo, CNN, ESPN and Fox News, many streaming TV services offer local channels too, namely ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox (note that CBS is the parent company of Techhnews). None of them offer all four locals in every market however. In Portland Oregon, for example, Hulu lacks the local ABC station and PlayStation Vue lacks the local CBS station. 

YouTube TV offers all four local stations in most markets it serves, which leads to fewer missing locals. According to a list of all 195 markets YouTube’s representatives sent Techhnews, it has all four live local networks in 176 of them. The remaining 19 markets (the two most populous being New Orleans, Louisiana and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania) have three out of the four local networks. And all 195 get CBS, home of the Super Bowl this year.

Techhnews asked YouTube about local coverage for the remaining two percent of US households, but the representative wasn’t able to provide a definitive answer. 

Some markets are served by a nearby station. For example the Mankato, Minnesota market is covered by the Chicago NBC station (WMAQ) while Presque Isle, Maine is covered by the Boston NBC station (WBTS). For markets not served by any live local station, YouTube TV subscribers can still watch those network’s shows on-demand. 

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