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YouTube is launching a live TV service. Called YouTube TV, it offers a killer combination of live national and local channels, original content, and YouTube's considerable online catalogue.

If that sounds familiar, it's because Apple has been rumoured to have a very similar offering up its sleeve for some time now, but it's reportedly been delayed due to rights negotiations.

So it looks like YouTube will beat Apple to the punch. But what's the service like? How much does it cost? And can it rival the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video? Read on and find out.

1 Over 40 channels

youtube tv channels

YouTube TV brings more than 40 live channels that you stream over the internet. These include news channels (ABC, CBS, Fox), sport (ESPN, Fox Sports Network), entertainment (FX), kids (Disney Channel) and reality TV (E!, Bravo).

However, some major networks are missing, like CNN, Discovery and AMC.

YouTube has partnered with local stations to bring regional content too, so you can find out the latest news specific to your area.

And if you want to splash out, you can add subscription TV services like Showtime or Fox Soccer Plus for an extra charge (more on pricing later).

It also includes all the original content from YouTube Red, YouTube's ad-free paid-for service. Though unlike YouTube Red (and Netflix and Amazon Prime Video), YouTube TV does still have adverts.

2 Works on all platforms

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You can stream these channels to any device which can show YouTube, so smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers are all covered. YouTube is owned by Google, so it's compatible with the Google Chromecast too, so you can stream the action to your telly, as long as you have one of Google's streaming doohickeys.

It also works with Google Home, Google's voice-activated speaker. That means you can just speak to start a show playing. Very futuristic.

3 You can share your account with friends

google chromecast ultra official

YouTube TV costs $35 a month, which works out at about £28. That might seem like a lot, especially when Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are roughly a quarter of the price. But it does have one rather neat feature: you can share your account with other people.

One account can be shared with up to six people, meaning you can let friends and family in on the fun. Spread the cost, and suddenly it doesn't seem so pricey.

There's also no contract to sign, so you're not in for the long haul. Instead, like a SIM-only contract, you can opt out at any time, and once that month is up you'll have nothing more to pay.

4 Never delete a recording

youtube tv mobile

It comes with unlimited cloud storage, which means you can store a show to be watched later on another device. In other words, cue something up on your desktop, and you can watch it on your phone while you're on the bus.

Each recording is stored for nine months. Let's face it, if you haven't watched it by then, chances are you were never going to.

5 US-only for now

Now the bad news – it's only been announced for the US for now, where it will launch "soon". We don't know if it will ever come to the UK. Considering YouTube Red still hasn't launched in the UK, almost 18 months after it debuted in the US, we might be in for a bit of a wait...

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