STEM / STEAM: Testing YouTubeTV

I had previously tested YouTubeTV a couple of times…..hit the links below to learn more.

The first time (when we still had our 15 year old HD Sony TV) was way back in the dark ages….. YouTubeTV test #1 Oct 2017.

The second test was completed in Feb 2020 when we had our new state-of-the-art 65 inch Sony A8G UHD 4k TV.

As we all know…….technology changes at the speed of light, and since it is almost 3 years since my last YouTubeTV evaluation, I decided this was a good time, October / November 2022, to test YouTubeTV again.

Spoiler Alert: I’m sad to say the what was once “nearly perfect” is further from that now.

But……read on for more……

Our Usage Has Changed Over the Years

In the old days…..i.e. during our first test in October 2017…..our old TV had no apps and no Internet connection. We used Comcast to record TV shows to watch later. The video resolution probably sucked, but, we did not know anything different.

YouTubeTV was great.

For our second test of YouTubeTV we had our new 65 inch Sony A8G UHD 4k TV with tons of apps including Netflix, Amazon Prime, and the biggest new thing, for us, Disney+. We were still recording TV shows, but, not as much.

YouTubeTV was “nearly perfect”.

Now in Oct / Nov 2022 we watch streamed movies from any number of sources (VUDU, Google Play, Amazon Prime, Netflix, and, of course, Disney+) all in glorious ultra high definition or 4k. We only record one scripted TV show, NCIS (which is overstaying it’s 20 year welcome), and some shows / movies on the Food Network, PBS, and Hallmark channels. The video quality from the apps and Xfinity is fantastic.

YouTubeTV is no longer “nearly perfect”. 😦

Our Current Xfinity Service and Cost

We currently have 80+ channels with a limited recording capability of about 100 hours. Our Internet connectivity is around 300 to 350 Mbps download.

Speedtest of our Xfinity Internet Connection

I have my own cable modem and Wifi, and we “rent” only the main Xfinity box which provides us with 4k if the TV show / movie provides that capability.

With all the fees and other necessary encumberances……we are just coming off a year at $139.00 per month and are expecting it to rise to $160.00 per month.

Xfinity Costs:

Total: $160.00 per month

YouTubeTV Service and Cost

The base price is $65 per month and you get 80+ channels and unlimited recording.

You can add features, so I added 4k for one free month then $9.99 for the next two months, then $19.99 per month after that.

Lori also wants UPTV so that is another $5.99 if we want that.

To use YouTubeTV, you fire up the YouTubeTV app on your TV’s app screen or on your phone (mine is a Pixel 6 Pro).

YouTubeTV Costs:

$65 for 800 Mbps Xfinity Internet

$65 for the base YouTubeTV

$19.99 for 4 k upgrade

$5.99 for UPTV

Total: $155.98 per month

Quality and Performance Comparisons


UPDATE: I noticed that the “Auto” setting may not be working correctly. If you set that to “HD” (any of them….I did the highest, 1080) then it improves the picture quality…..although not enough to equal Xfinity.

AUTO setting is not working properly. Set it to HD.

Where Xfinity and the apps (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+) give us crystal clear high definition video and superb audio……YouTubeTV (even after signing up for the 4k option for $20 per month) gives us a horrible standard definition (SD) video for live TV (due to the possible “Auto” issue). And…….it’s even worse for recorded content: You can barely recognize the faces on, “This Old House” for example, and it buffers like crazy.

For comparision, here is a pic of the nerd stats (which I love!) for a 4k trailer on YouTube. 3840×2026 is defined as UHD 4k…..and is probably Sony’s version of full 4k which is 4096×2160.

Nerd Stats of 4k trailer on Youtube

The setting for the next three pictures was set to “Auto” which apparently adjusted to the lowest resolution setting. Arrrghh….

YouTubeTV live content is barely acceptable (to the naked eye). Stats wise…..1/9th HD (640×360) is terrible!

NOTE: I looked at my unpublished photos….from 2020…..and LIVE YouTubeTV content was being delivered at 1920×1080 full HD. Either “Auto” was working then, or it was not an option.

YouTubeTV LIVE content stats

YouTubeTV recorded content quality and buffering make it totally unwatchable. Both to the naked eye and stats wise.

Recorded This Old House with buffering stats
Recorded Hallmark movie stats

AGAIN: The “Auto” setting for picture quality does not appear to be working properly. If you work for Google….you may want to look at the “Auto” option to check me. 🙂

Unfortunately, even setting manually to HD 1080….the picture quality falls short of Xfinity, and the buffering problem still exists. 😦

Yikes.

Our Choice

It’s not about the money……it’s about performance and quality.

Xfinity wins.


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