YouTube Premium, formerly YouTube Red, is the video sharing platform’s answer to cord cutters. However, the selection of original content is limited and the focus of this subscription is the elimination of commercials from the YouTube videos you watch. We reviewed the premium streaming option, but there is also YouTubeTV available if you’re interested in live TV and sports. It’s much more expensive, but you can have six accounts per household and cloud DVR with no storage limits.
YouTube Premium links to your Google account, and you can add family members for an additional cost. There aren’t any parental controls, though the YouTube Kids app has a lot of child-friendly content you can browse. One tester said while she hated YouTube ads, she wasn't sure it was worth paying to get rid of them because the original content didn't seem worth it. Another said it was definitely worth it, so it’s really up to you to decide how much you dislike ads.
One reviewer really liked how a preview of the video plays when you hover your cursor over it. Using data and ratings collected from our testers, YouTube Premium got an A- for ease of use. Another reviewer said a large part of why it's so easy to use is the website's familiarity. The thing that makes YouTube Premium unique among streaming sites like HBO NOW or Netflix is the ability to comment on the videos. This creates more of a content-watching community than a siloed viewing experience.
There aren’t many full-length TV shows available through this service, though you can watch clips of entertaining TV shows like “Jimmy Kimmel Live” or your favorite scene from various TV shows and movies. If you like a particular show, you can subscribe to their channel for free to get notifications when a new video is uploaded for viewing. While you can watch pieces of content for free, you do have to pay per title to rent a movie. There are many popular titles and recently released movies at a reasonable rental or purchase price, and you can watch the trailer for every single one before you decide to spend your hard-earned money. You can even preorder new releases before they’re available, choosing from the less expensive standard definition version, high definition or ultra-high definition at a higher price.
This subscription streaming service is less about access to the most popular TV shows and movies and more about eliminating ads from your YouTube video experience. If you do watch a lot of YouTube – via your browser or the mobile app – or are interested in the original content, it’s worth the money.