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YouTube TV finally goes nationwide almost two years after launch

The Verge logo The Verge 1/23/2019 Chris Welch
a hand holding a cellphone © Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

YouTube TV is finally nearing nationwide availability. The streaming TV service first launched in February 2017 and has been gradually rolled out to additional markets since then; YouTube says the top 100 US markets already have access to YouTube TV. But today the company is announcing another significant expansion: 95 more markets are being added effective immediately — enough to cover “98 percent of US households” when combined with areas where the service is already available. And YouTube claims the remaining markets necessary for true nationwide coverage will be coming soon afterward.

“That’s exciting news for living rooms, cord cutters, and cord-nevers from Bozeman to Gainesville, Anchorage to Yuma, and Erie to Topeka,” YouTube TV program manager Ben Moores wrote in a blog post.

But there’s one downside to this availability expansion: not all markets will be able to stream all four of the major broadcasters: ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. YouTube says all YouTube TV markets will have live streaming access to at least three out of the four. I count 19 markets out of 195 where one of the four broadcasters is unavailable, so customers in most regions (over 90 percent of YTV markets) will still be getting all of them. “That means: more game-winners from the hometown favorite, more breaking news and stories you need to know, and a more relevant TV experience,” Moores said. Availability of the four big broadcast networks varies across other internet TV services depending on service area. Using an antenna is one workaround if you’re left without any of them.

Below are the cities included in today’s 95 new YouTube TV markets that lack at least one major network, with the missing one listed beside each. As you’ll see, ABC and Fox affiliates are the main holdouts in these areas. CBS doesn’t seem to be a problem anywhere: it’s available in every single market where YouTube TV is offered.

  • Cheyenne-Scottsbluff: ABC
  • Davenport-R.Island-Moline: ABC
  • Duluth-Superior: Fox
  • Fargo-Valley City: Fox
  • Ft. Wayne: Fox
  • Gainesville: Fox
  • Lake Charles: Fox
  • Lansing: ABC
  • Lubbock: Fox
  • Mankato: ABC
  • Marquette: ABC
  • Medford-Klamath Falls: Fox
  • Ottumwa-Kirksville: NBC
  • Palm Springs: Fox
  • Presque Isle: ABC
  • St. Joseph: Fox
  • Topeka: ABC

Existing markets New Orleans and Wilkes Barre-Scranton-Hazleton had already lacked ABC, with all others offering all four broadcast networks. You can enter your zip code here to see a list of channels in your area.

The service’s subscription price remains $40 per month, which gives you over 60 networks (with Viacom and Discovery networks being the main omissions), a cloud DVR with infinite storage space, and six separate user accounts per household.

YouTube TV’s polished user experience and best-of-the-bunch DVR are what led me to call it the best internet TV service you can get. It felt a little odd making that declaration when there were still patches of the US where the service remains unavailable, so I’m glad to see that YouTube is nearing the finish line on US expansion.

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