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YouTube TV sharply increases monthly subscription to $64.99 (theverge.com)
463 points by jbredeche 2 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 458 comments

ObShameless reminder that https://puffer.stanford.edu remains free of charge.

The site streams San Francisco affiliates and local stations of NBC/CBS/ABC/PBS/FOX/CW as part of a university study on video streaming algorithms -- it's essentially a big A/B test to try to reproduce or clarify some of the findings in the research literature. We're now posting all our data and analysis each day. Research talk here: https://youtu.be/63aECX2MZvY

The content is... well, it's U.S. network television and associated daytime programming. But some people like it! And it's free (for people inside the U.S.).

This was the first time I've watched live broadcast US TV since leaving the country ten years ago. Are there any shows on, or is every channel besides PBS just advertisements all day?

Try listening to a music radio station sometime. I turned one on for the first time a 10 years a couple weeks ago and in a 45 minute drive heard approximately 2 songs. The entire rest was station identifiers and commercials.

The non-commercial band in the United States is 88-92FM. All the best (many college) stations will be in this band: KFJC, WFMU, KEXP... Radio is alive and well in the U.S., its just not commercial radio.

KEXP is amazing. Highly recommend people check them out (online at kexp.org if you're not in seattle).

They have some good stuff on YouTube as well.

Agreed and thanks for the reminder. I used to listen to KEXP online even when I lived in Seattle. Phones are more common than radios these days.

Huh. KUOW, (one of) Seattle’s NPR stations, is on 94.9. Wonder what the story there is

88.1-91.9 MHz is reserved for noncommercial educational (NCE) stations, so only they can use those frequencies. However, there's nothing that disallows NCE stations from operating on unrestricted frequencies (so long as they are licensed, of course). It's not very common, though, because radio spectrum is expensive.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-commercial_educational_sta...

The band was donated to them by KING

Most of the time, I prefer silence to the radio. It is really bad…

That's why I pay ~$5/mo for satellite radio. I don't even drive that much but it's worth it to not listen to ads the whole time.

Even on SiriusXM, the DJs never seem to shut up.

One of my fondest "one of these days" project ideas: duct-tape a correlator to an RF front end, along with enough storage to "Tivoize" the local FM band. Record everything, recognize and redact any content that reoccurs within 30-second windows, and rebroadcast it for household/car consumption.

They went about it differently but already made it, it's called Spotify.

An even better idea, if you're preferential to radio DJs: have a recording setup and Shazam-like recognition system where a Spotify playlist or queue is made from what's being played. I was considering doing that as a project. The song choice by the radio DJs is the real value, and I sometimes prefer their playlists over my recommended daily mix playlists or whatever Spotify selects on the generated radio stations. The highest streaming quality option on Spotify is superior in audio quality to regular radio and the digital streaming options from radio websites. StationHead has been trying to do something similar, but they still include the social live host aspect.

Aren't the song titles usually broadcast along as metadata, and broadcast on web players?

Not often enough or reliably enough, and not on every station. It would help but you'd still need Shazam.

Pandora you mean?

Long before home computers were affordable, in a magazine for electronics hobbyists, I saw a design for an analogue circuit that could, it was claimed, remove advertising and DJ waffling from radio broadcasts. I think it just looked for the frequent short periods of silence that occur in speech so it can't have been very reliable. But it had a certain low-tech beauty.

I once had an ‘Intempo Rebel’ radio[1], about a decade ago, which had the selling point that it would record songs, from radio, as MP3, without any ads or DJs. It actually worked, from what I remember. It was magic to me at the time, and …still is.

Edit: it appears that its original name was PopCatcher [2], by a company with the same name

[1] https://www.cnet.com/reviews/intempo-rebel-review/

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PopCatcher

This is something modern AI could easily do. And it could go further: It could have 20 or so tuners built in (FM tuners are cheap) and constantly be scanning/listening for non-commercials/non-talk and songs in the genres you like.

Yeah, that's what I mean -- snarf up the whole 20 MHz-wide FM band and decode/analyze/edit/rebroadcast each channel concurrently in nearby unused channels. I'm sure there's a GNU Radio block somewhere that does the capture part already.

I built something like this, but, only for commercials, using RTL-SDR dongles and intel NUC's.

I never did figure out a way to monetize it, but, the thought was to that if you were pepsi, you could be alerted for coke's new commercials on a per-market or per-station basis, depending on how you wanted to pay for it.

I ended up turning the hardware into my P25 decoder for Hamilton County (currently running at https://cvgscan.iwdo.xyz ), but, I would kinda love to get back into that space again.

Very cool. I did something similar for SmartNet trunking years ago, only it used a dedicated fat client. I stopped working on it when people were getting serious about rebanding and encrypted P25 in my area. Several years later, that still hasn't happened.

And yes, to be perfectly clear, what I had in mind was for removing commercials automatically. I was complaining about mindless DJ patter in my post, but that's not an issue on FM anymore. It's either not that mindless in the case of stations like KEXP, or it's nonexistent thanks to the Clear Channelization of everything else on the dial. In any case, I have no idea how I'd go about removing it reliably. Skipping repetitive commercials is a rudimentary DSP exercise, but skipping random DJ diarrhea would be an open-ended ML problem.

Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, the obvious solution would be to keep repetitive segments lasting at least ~3 minutes, and discard the rest. If I did it the way I was originally thinking about, I might still hear the commercial the first time it aired. But if I did it this way, I'd never hear any commercials at all, and would only miss the first appearance of a new song if I happened to be listening at the time.

It’s crazy: they used to be just music, but when they bought XM they adopted XM’s model of announcements and such. Why?

Of course that company should have cornered “digital music on the internet” but we’re themselves stuck in the radio mindset.

$5/month is just an introductory price, after the first year it goes way up, to $16.99/month. A cheaper "Mostly Music" is $10.99/month with a reduced 80 channels (looks like nothing I'd miss) that is satellite only, no streaming over the Internet.

I've liked listening to a handful of channels on Sirius XM when it's already been enabled in rental cars but it's not worth the price.

When you call to cancel they'll give you 6 months for $5 a month. I've been going through this for a few years now.

AM radio stations work for me, none of the twaddle and blather that you experience on FM stations. There's also a lot more productive content on AM radio.

Even PBS has ads nowadays. At the beginning of a show, "sesame street was brought to you today by support from viewers like you, and..." (ad for abcmouse, some minivan, etc plays)

The advertisers (?) are different, but more than 35 (!) years ago, I remember the same format, just different sponsors for different programming.

PBS has always been like that. That's how public broadcasting works.

No, it used to be where they would mention the name of the company on a still image and a quick blurb, like the other poster's youtube link. Now the company gets a whole 30 second ad like any other channel.

> That's how public broadcasting works.

That’s how public broadcasting works in the US. A number of other countries manage to have public broadcasting without any private advertisements or sponsorship. (For example, Australia’s ABC.)

It’s “ad free” yet “sponsors” still get their name on the air.

How is that not advertising?

Because sponsor does not control the message?

I was thinking the same just days ago after watching a live broadcast since the shutting down of analog TV (never bothered to install an antenna even after buying a new HD TV) i said to myself, no wonder cord cutting is a thing, for every 2 minutes of content you get 15 of mind numbing ads.

yeah holy crow it has gotten way worse? are episodes shorter or something? I think I just sat through 5 minutes of ads.

Hour shows are 40 minutes. Half hour are 18.

Didn't it used to be like 22/44 or 24/48?

One of my favorite “I wonder how many people got that?” jokes in Spongebob Squarepants is a reference to this: https://youtu.be/RUM-Qk4_KG4

“Every eleven minutes” because each “half hour” episode is two separate segments totaling 22 minutes.

Apparently it was 22/44 in 2013. By 2016, half-hour shows were already down to ~19mn.

Broadcast was utterly unbearable when I visited the US 20 years back, I can't imagine watching it today.

Holy crap. Half-hour shows are basically YouTube videos in terms of length

And yet YouTube videos themselves are approximately 30% non-content.


I really wish YT would drop the 10 minute cutoff for mid-roll ads. It's a destructive incentive to the platform. Let creators put ads wherever they want on whatever length video they want (within reason and with abuse checks). Then you won't get 7 minute videos with 3 minutes of added fluff just so they can be better monetized.

And we can ignore creators who over-monetize if we want (or buy Premium or use adblocking).

> The Wadsworth Constant is the idea (and 2011 meme) that one can safely skip past the first 30 percent of any YouTube video without missing any important content.

I heard about this a few months ago, and have since checked when the actual content starts in the videos I watch. I certainly can't agree with 30%, usually in 15-minute videos, the introduction is 1-2 minutes before they go into the meat. The bigger problem is all the filler, sponsorship breaks, "remember to ring the bell" etc., that occur at seemingly random points, though I don't think it adds up to 30% filler even if you count all that. Maybe I just skip over most of the garbage.

> And yet YouTube videos themselves are approximately 30% non-content.

That's "non-useful" content rather than "non-content", those 30% are intro and filler which you might also find in non-youtube content. And obviously it also depends strongly on what kind of content you're using youtube for. Skipping the first 30% of a recital is probably going to skip interesting content.

At the time you posted this, it was late evening / overnight.

Most programming is on earlier.

I'm no lawyer, but it doesn't exactly seem legal. Streaming free local network broadcasts was definitively ruled as illegal by the Supreme Court in 2014 -- remember that was Aereo's entire business model. [1]

It seems like the Stanford service is trying to justify themselves by being an academic study and limiting to 500 concurrent participants... but it's telling they don't list any legal justification on the site, and merely generically claim:

> Stanford respects the intellectual property rights of others. If you believe your copyright has been violated on a Stanford site, please notify puffer-copyright-notices@cs.stanford.edu and give notice as stated under Reporting of Alleged Copyright Infringement. [2]

I'm honestly shocked this ever passed Stanford legal review. Maybe it never did?

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aereo

[2] https://puffer.stanford.edu/terms/

They're maybe trying to use the same law that Locast[1] is: there's a specific carve-out in the law about rebroadcasting for nonprofits: "an exception in U.S. copyright law (17 U.S.C. § 111) for retransmission of television programming by non-profits without charge or any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage (besides the costs needed to cover the operations and maintenance of the retransmitter), which was originally intended to cover over-the-air translator stations" [2]

[1] https://www.locast.org

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locast#Legal_challenge

> direct or indirect commercial advantage

So none of the research results will be licensed, patented, or used to bolster the universities reputation?

That's not commercial advantage as colloquially known. Commercial advantage would roughly translate to direct profit taking.

And they aren't doing it to become world renowned for their rebroadcasting, they're doing research and publishing results first and foremost. Big difference. Unless you want to start couching every type of university research as commercial advantage now, which seems pretty harmful to the university research landscape to me.

I never understood what the business interest of the tv stations was in preventing streaming online. They already give away for free the stream over the air. What gives? Do they make money on the antennas or receivers or something?

Many of them charge cable operators for the right to carry them: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retransmission_consent - so having the channel available free online diminishes the value of the retransmission consent.

Also, the copyright licenses the station has for their programming usually specify limits on redistribution - e.g. geographical, types of carriage, amount of customers reached (with a wider distribution costing more, as it provides more value to the licensee and reduces the licensor's ability to sell licenses to other entities).

>Many of them charge cable operators for the right to carry them.

So the opposite of what some ISPs are trying to pull.

The cable operators are the only "broadband" ISP for most people in the US. Cable operators want income as both ISPs and as channel providers. The TV channels want income from cable operators and advertisers. Losing one means fewer avenues of revenue.

The reality is cable operators are no longer need to be anything but a dumb pipe. And TV channels are no longer as valuable as they once were due to multitude of other sources of information.

The rights to distribute a program on different media and in different geographies are sold separately. The broadcaster itself is likely not authorized to distribute the show online, so they can't authorize you to do it either.

Much of the programming of the OTA networks are produced in-house. (Previously, it was 100% in-house.)

The advertisers don’t want their content available everywhere. They often do regional promotions they don’t want the rest of the world to have knowledge of.

> Much of the programming of the OTA networks are produced in-house.

Not really.

> (Previously, it was 100% in-house.)


Even in-house programming doesn't mean you're free of underlying copyright issues.

They get paid by the cable companies (or YouTubeTV style equivalents). It’s not too much (~$0.40/subscriber IIRC) but it obviously adds up.

They don’t get that money if you use an antenna, but that’s a small market compared to the internet. Most people who use antennas won’t pay anyway, and broadcasting gives them access to the network.

But opening up streaming will draw a lot of people who would otherwise have a cable subscription. Which will lead to much more cord cutters and cut into the carriage fees from the cable company.

I have heard that small cable companies pay upwards of $11 per month per sub in retran fees. This article from the industry says..."According to Kagan, the average retrans fee charged by a broadcast station will reach $2.93 by 2022, putting it behind only ESPN ($11.08) and cable channel TNT ($3.09)." [1]

This increase by YTTV is driven by the leverage that ViacomCBS has because of the CBS locals then own. They are forcing YTTV to take these network. Until retransmission consent is changed, we are stuck paying the local station holders despite the fact that their content is free OTA.

[1] - https://www.multichannel.com/news/is-the-retrans-cash-cow-ru...

You have the reasoning wrong for why they broadcast over the air via antennas, it was (still is I think?) mandated by the FCC.

One would think that the improved ad performance analytics should make up for the loss of $0.40 to $3.00 a month. But maybe they know ads don't work as well as they say and don't want the proof to get out...

I think that they broadcast over the air for free only because they are required by law. Otherwise they would probably only be available on cable, Netflix, etc...

> I never understood what the business interest of the tv stations was in preventing streaming online. They already give away for free the stream over the air. What gives? Do they make money on the antennas or receivers or something?

Pretty simple. They money using a tried and true model, why would they bother innovating or rocking the boat. It's much easier to collect the check for most of the money on the table than to bother innovating and collecting a slightly higher percentage with signicant potential downsides.

An interesting aspect of Aereo's model is that they attempted to circumvent these regulations by leasing each customer an individual antenna which they could access remotely. They maintained "antenna farms" full of tiny antennas.

It was a brilliant $100m bet that backfired for no good reason.

No good reason? They tried to exploit a technical loophole that was clearly against the spirit of the contracts and law.

But there's no good reason that it's legal to buy a server and stick an antenna on it, but it's not legal to rent a preconfigured server that has an antenna on it.

There wouldn't be loopholes if the law was consistent, and I would argue there is no 'spirit' in such a confusing set of rules.

always wondered if netflix couldn't have had warehouses full of dvd drives to avoid licensing fees. wouldn't work for new releases with a lot of peak demand but maybe it would be more feasible for the back catalog of older titles.

Zediva did this for a while before they were shutdown. I guess this is a lesson on the risks of disrupting an industry through a loophole that can be shutdown by a single ruling.

When you buy a consumer DVD, that DVD only has a license for home viewing. Video stores require a special license to rent out videos. So, I assume netflix would have to pay that fee at least (which they probably already had for their mail order DVDs).

> Video stores require a special license to rent out videos.

First sale doctrine covers rentals, but having good relations with studios to get supply of new releases often influences rental establishments to avoid buying discs at retail to rent out. (But, RedBox will sometimes do it)

They agreed to stop a few years ago. Redbox used to break the "buy only" window of DVD releases. Meaning you could rent a movie from Redbox before it was available to rent on any streaming service.

They buckled from pressure from studios and agreed to stop for the reason you gave.

It kind of seemed at the time that they used their right to do this as a negotiating tactic in getting better prices from distributors.

They wouldn't rent the DVD to you. They'd sell it to you, with an agreement to buy it back later on. First-sale doctrine, baby!

They might also need to sell you a short-term lease on that particular drive bay, so that you are playing the DVD in your own home too.

Would they be able to achieve that without using libdvdcss which could cause legal problems? Also, I think most people want HD or 4k these days

A "matrix" for DVDs, safely ensconced in their little pods until their master grows weary and evicts them to the discount bins.

Wouldn't want to be in charge of maintaining the system that has to handle the DVD and DVD drive farm.

Wow, what did that look like?

Wow, that's pretty much exactly the kind of introspective I guess I was looking for. Thanks.

Kind of sad it got killed off :(

I can't find it now, but could swear I read somewhere that educational institutions are specifically allowed to redistribute TV signals. My high school, for example, had a system where a single cable box / VHS / DVD player in the library could be made to present as channel 3 on all the classroom TVs.

If there is such a rule I highly doubt it's intended to cover distribution to the public, more like within campus facilities, but that could be what Stanford is trying to exploit.

They don't actually check your region either, you just have to check a box saying that you're in the U.S. It seems to be flying under the radar, at least until now

They addressed the law in a previous post, but basically there is a carveout for non-profit research that allows the retransmission of over the air signals to people in the US.

If you slap an "academic" label on it, no one will bother you. Same like how PredictIt is run by a university so they're allowed to be a casino that takes MasterCard and Visa.

PredictIt has letters of non-enforcement from either the SEC or the one that regulates commodities trading or both. It’s more than just saying “academic”.

Stanford can legally do this only because it's a non-profit conducting research


Isn’t it true that in all cases of copyright violation the party who believe their rights are being infringed has to first ask the other party to stop, usually called a cease and desist notice.

No... One can still pursue in court for damages that occurred before the cease and desist letter was sent.

Ah, right, that’s obvious now you point it out.

Couldn't they ask the librarian of Congress for an exemption?

I imagine it passed legal by arguing based on the fair use doctrine, a defense that Aereo didn't raise.

Seems like a long study, but I suppose it's nice to have a bigger dataset.

Wow. How can this be SO much better than even my cable box!

Seriously, clicking up down with channels, there is very little of that slow feeling blank out / blank in thing that is so annoying.

I'd love to have an OTA receiver go into something like this at my house with this simplicity and speed (I did HD Run or something once and the hoopjumping was high and quality low).

OTA channel surfing is slow because before you can see a picture, first you have to tune the digital signal, then you have to wait for an I frame, plus whatever decoder delay and output image processing. In order to make it better, you really need to three tuners, so you can process the streams of the up and down channels. Random access would still be slow, but oh well.

I imagine cable is pretty similar, but I suspect most cable boxes are more capable than tuners in tvs, so they may be running multiple tuners, and I think there's more of a chance of subchannels being useful, too.

Every cablebox I've ever dealt with is a pile of shit than struggles to display simple text-based menus.

Comcast's newer IPTV/X1 boxes are somehow worse, as they have 100x the processing capacity of the old Motorola/Cisco boxes, but use it to run a slow as molasses JS SPA. The Netflix app runs at probably half the speed of the Apple TV (or the Fire TV Stick) and even Comcast's UI can sometimes take upwards of 1-2 seconds to respond to a button press.

X1 uses a cloud-based UI, kind of like X-Windows client and server.

TVs sold in Europe are sometimes advertised as having multiple tuners. OTA viewing is the most common type in several countries here.

With digital TV, several channels are multiplexed into a single broadcast frequency, so channel hopping is sometimes OK even with a single tuner.

While hoopjumping is still rather high (I did need to configure a MySQL database and read through some rather cryptic docs for SchedulesDirect), it was much easier to get running using MythTV than it was a couple years prior (last time I had tried).

It's definitely a nice weekend project if you are serious about cutting the cord and are in an area with decent OTA signals.

I will say though, that MythTV does have the annoying "slow channel switch" issue, since it literally needs to buffer some video data before it begins to play.

Ah, takes me back. I ran a MythTV box ages ago. What is the I-frame interval on ATSC streams? Is it all still MPEG-2 or are there more advanced streams being broadcast now? Presumably you have to wait for an I-frame, or show garbled video until you get one.

ATSC 3.0 is starting to show up in some markets, which brings with it newer than mpeg-2 codecs. I haven't yet started to pay attention to that, but it looks like it's h.265

They skipped ATSC 2. There were a couple broadcasters experimenting with newer codecs on ATSC, but I think that mostly fizzled out.

Only downside is it is regularly overloaded during any moderately interesting sports event.

yeah "The study is limited to 500 participants simultaneously, meaning that at most 500 people are allowed to watch Puffer at a time."

I guess good thing those are in short supply.

Wow that's impressive. I'm on the east coast and seeing instant buffering when changing channels.

I'm in France, and switching channels is faster than on DTT!

I love listening to another Countries radio or watching their television. It just so interesting watching their commercials or listening to their local news and events. One of my favourite things to do is ask my google home to stream random radio stations, so I’ll ask it to stream whim and see what happens, most of the time it’ll find nothing, neutral sometimes it come up with a radio station in Bakersfield, Or Detroit or Memphis. Even randomly asking for radio Toronto brings something up.

I know how you feel bout that. I think you would like http://radio.garden/, it lets you spin a globe to pick a radio station from that area!

Thank you so much for mentioning this! I didn't know about it. And, it's great to have alternatives. I've been looking to diversify my viewing away from YouTube and am interested in viable alternatives.

FYI these are the same channels you can get with rabbit ears

Only if you 1) live in the US 2) own a TV and 3) live close enough to the broadcasting stations to pick up their signals.

I live in the US and own a TV but I don't live within 50 miles of any station broadcasting TV signals, so I can't pick up any signals with a TV top antenna.

Anyone else getting a CSRF error on Firefox?

Just wanted to say I'm a huge fan of this.

Replying to save for later.

Or click on the favourite link, or bookmark it, or literally anything else other than worthless comments like this.

This isn't Facebook.

Facebook has saves and if you click the timestamp link you can bookmark, etc.. The 'comment to bookmark' is just as wrong there.

Don't know and literally don't care.

Facebook brings up the dregs of humanity, so I am not surprised when I see worthless comments. I would hope for a slightly higher quality of comment here though. At least we don't have

> First post!

Not a mod but please don't do this as it'll litter a thread with mechanical, generated comments, like it did with "linkback" blog post comments in the 2000s and early 2010s.

For any YouTube TV PMs reading, I just added an event to my calendar marking the day I'll cancel my account. Thanks for the helpful reference to the exact date my current rate expires. Spectrum is offering more channels for $45/month and you don't even need a cable box if you're using an Apple TV. YouTube TV is an OK service that is very rough around the edges and I won't miss it a single minute after I cancel.

"This new price reflects the rising costs of content, and we also believe it reflects the complete value of YouTube TV"

Your price does not reflect the complete value of your service, but happy churning.

Just cancel now. You still get the rest of the current month you paid for and there's no need to worry about forgetting. I just cancelled mine. "Rough around the edges" is a nice way of describing an app that doesn't play what I click on but random shit it feels like.

You don't think announcing this rate hike on the morning of the last day of the Q2 is coincidence? Sounds like most people's accounts are scheduled to renew in August, which would be much more impactful if we all waited until then to cancel. The knee-jerk cancelations today are fully expected and accounted for.

"I will time my cancellation to hopefully better mess with your key business indicators"

petty but quite brilliant!

Yeah, but that would require paying them another month at the already twice inflated price. No thanks.

I paused today. My sub will continue until my next bill date (13 days) then it ends until November. YTTV will save all of my existing settings and recorded events should I decide to come back. This gives me plenty of time to evaluate alternatives or for YTTV to rethink this price hike.

Thanks, I did the same.

I assume they want cancellations so they can shutter it with less friction.

You might be on to something there. In the email they sent out to subscribers, they are actually provided directions for if you wanted to cancel...I thought that was quite odd

That shouldn't be odd. All it would take is a tiny little bit of ethics in their heads.

Right. That’s why it’s odd.

This is google: a company that whose practices is borderline malware, especially on Android.

This guy gets it. It doesn't make enough money and not enough people sign up... All that garbage maintenance and 'Youtube TV' only content.

If you know C suit level, then you know within the next metric, you'll have the ammo to cancel the whole thing.

That’s an interesting thought!

In fairness, at $45 a month you’re not getting any the unlimited DVR service YouTube TV provides, which is a big feature for some.

If anyone is in a similar boat I can strongly recommend the Channels DVR app: it’s $6 a month or less per year, runs on most platforms (raspberry pi included) and lets you record to anything you want.

Yeah, when I first saw the email I put a reminder to cancel before August billing, but I've been using it much less recently anyway so seeing this thread I decided to just cancel immediately. Hopefully in the future there will be a basic option back in the $40 range

Not the same. Only works at home

A road warrior VPN setup running on a Raspberry Pi 4 and placed in your home costs less than $50. There are 1000 reasons to have one anyway, and watching TV while traveling is also one of them. I know for a fact the Spectrum TV app works quite well under this setup.

I see you commented below that you used OpenVPN for implementing this. I tried using a self-hosted Squid proxy with the Spectrum website, but was unsuccessful at getting it to work. I also tried routing the traffic over SOCKS5 (using ssh -D) and it still didn't work. This was a while ago, but I recall that the website was using Flash. I'm just assuming that the website was using Flash to do some local network checking outside of the tunneled traffic and that's why it didn't work, but I'm uncertain if that makes sense. Sounds like I should have tried a full traffic solution like a VPN...

Routing through where? If you put your proxy in the cloud then it definitely won't work as most providers block known cloud host IPs like AWS, Digital Ocean, etc. I placed my Raspberry Pi inside my home network so that when I'm traveling my traffic still appears to be coming from my home, which is what Spectrum and others are looking for to determine whether to show you the entire channel listing or just a small slice of available channels. If you're not showing a residential IP in their network then it doesn't matter what setup you use, it still won't work.

Uh yeah, sorry I didn't specify that I meant at my house, also on a raspberry pi as well FWIW.

You'd expect the average Joe to do all of this ?

The average Joe isn’t subscribed to YouTube TV in the first place, are they? They’re usually paying their cable/telco for TV service. (Which, as it happens, already comes these days with mobile wi-fi streaming of the same content via the provider’s apps.)

Not sure that's a given. Anecdotally, quite a few people on my friend circle hate cable and have YouTube TV for sports and a few minor things.

No data but I'd assume YouTube's biggest pull is people young enough to hate cable but old enough to use YouTube often and have $$ to pay for the convenience

I have an Amplifi device but never tried this Teleport thing which looks like a toggle-and-forget thing. Seems simple enough, I’ve seen regular Joes and Janes go to surprisingly more convoluted lengths to access content they feel entitled to.


Btw, some routers have built-in VPN—I think ASUS has it, for no particular discernible reason. For dynamic IPs, it also can ping a couple DynDNS providers.

Can't speak as to whether the performance of a router's hardware is enough for VPN together with two streams of video.

Do you have a good link that explains how to do this? I am very much interested in implementing that

This OpenVPN[0] setup works very well and uses certificates for auth. It's easy to use and you just need to set up port forwarding in your home network so you can dial in from remote.

These days all the cool kids are using WireGuard[1] though. I don't have a link to a handy installer and setup guide for that but they do exist.

Using a Pi 4 with gigabit ethernet makes a big difference over older Pi hardware.

[0] https://github.com/Nyr/openvpn-install

[1] https://www.wireguard.com/

Don't pretty much all cable providers have an on-the-go app now?

What do you mean by only works at home? I use Youtube Tv on my mobile and while traveling.

Likely they were referring to the "Spectrum is offering more channels for $45/month" bit.

Not an expert since I don't really watch cable TV, but it seems like Spectrum's app is available for iPhone too - so not just available from home.


Sort of.

"you can enjoy up to 250 live TV channels and up to 30,000 On Demand TV shows and movies when you're connected to your Spectrum Internet WiFi network at home. Plus, when you're on the go, enjoy up to 150 live channels and up to 20,000 On Demand titles anywhere you have an internet connection"

TY for reading the fine print, sort of sounds right.

i left Spectrum for youtubetv for precisely this reason

Jacking up the price and giving me more channels I don't want.

Its gone starting August 15th.


Have they figured out how to play the show you click on yet? No. $50 a month and the basic functionality of the app doesn't even work. With a Chromecast, it's even worse. Eventually, after clicking back and forth, disconnecting and reconnecting, it may play. Then you have to turn off the closed captioning for every single show even though it's off in the settings. Then it randomly stops at times. The ui displays the wrong show. And they have the gall to charge even more for this shittiest motherfucking app I've ever had the displeasure of using. This engineering team should be fired. They should be ashamed of themselves. They can't even make the app play a single video without problems. I've been putting up with it for years now just because of certain channels my mom likes, but no more. Fuck this garbage app. I've submitted dozens of support requests and the only people dumber than the engineers, project managers, and others who work on this app are the idiots running customer support. Fuck them all. They can shove this fucking app right up their ass.

Sounds like you have a generation 1 Chromecast™ and bad WiFi. We hope you'll try YouTube TV again with a Chromecast Ultra™ and a Nest Wifi™ 3 pack. Take care!

Please tell me this is a parody of the support responses?

The ™s make me lean in that direction.

Asking someone to spend $400+ just to upgrade equipment in order to support a service that doesn’t work well on the original equipment you sold them, takes some guts.

It's sarcasm

I have every generation and type of Chromecast and they all do this same shit and have been doing it since I got YTV two years ago.

Usually don’t come to HN for this type of comment but something about it in this context is just poetry.

Stop beating around the bush, come on just come out and tell us how you feel! ;-)

BTW I'm dumping YTV after this move, but I haven't had a quite the same horror show w/ the app etc. At $40 it was worth it, I felt the hike to $50 was a bit steep, but now another $15/30 pct... it's just a big middle finger. I watch news & sports, but not $800 per year.

This is so true. I've always had horrible usability issues with YoutubeTV, especially when using with a Chromecast. I was always shocked that the app/website had so many bugs, the same type of bugs OP is talking about. It was literally the buggiest piece of software I've used in the past few years. The person I share the membership with never ran into these bugs somehow, so seeing this comment really makes me feel better about my experience. Still scratching my head about how so many bugs could show up in production for so long. I'm guessing severely inadequate testing.

Parent comment might come off as offensive, but it very accurately represents my experience with several Google apps that I've been using recently (YouTube, Google Play Music/YouTube Music, Google Photos, Google Maps, ...). But I'm on Firefox, so I guess nobody cares.

The experience on iOS is similar - the lack of respect which Google has for basic QA testing has been painfully obvious. I’m not sure why they want to train people to think that their products are only worth it at free but they’re doing a great job.

The space bar doesn't even pause on our HTPC. No clue how to fix it. Works on normal YouTube, lol.

I love YoutubeTV, and I've been using it for years. This is probably enough to get me to cancel, though. It started at $40 when I signed up a couple years ago, they raised it to $50 last year, and now $65 for just a few more channels (and among them, only one I even want).

I wish they'd offer a more a la carte option. I'd be willing to pay $10-15 per major broadcaster's channel collection, or $2-7 for individual channels (depending on quality of programming). I might even land at $50 or more with my channel choices, but I'd prefer to pick what I'm paying for instead of subsidizing dozens of channels of programming I dislike (and quite a few that I would prefer to boycott entirely).

The conventional TV channels don't allow their networks to be sold a-la-carte because they all make more money via the bundle than anyone would be willing to pay for their channels individually. Remember that most of these channels are related - for example, NBC owns Telemundo, SyFy, USA, Bravo, E!, Oxygen, etc. They sell all of those through bundles and keep $20/mo or so, but how many people would pay that much for any one of the channels, and how many people would actually buy them all?

I think everyone would love to just get their favorite channels for (let's say) $3/mo/channel with no ads... but that would be a huge loss for the media companies, so they won't sell that way.

Instead what we're seeing is disruption via alternative models, like Netflix, HBO, Apple TV+, and now even the biggest media owner (Disney) offering Disney+ and ESPN+ direct.

I'm not sure if conventional TV will still exist in its current form in a decade, but I don't think we'll ever see today's bundled TV become available a-la-carte, because it isn't compatible with that business model.

America has a lot of problems, but they all look strangely like anti-trust: https://mattstoller.substack.com/

really turned off by that landing overlay

What about obesity?

Mind you, they're also not getting any money from the people who are currently not interested because the price is too high.

It's not the services fault. These big tv conglomerates don't want their channels optional because they know no one wants them for the most part. Or, at the very least, you won't accidentally start watching something on their network if you don't even have the channel.

Everyone thinks they want a la carte, but (most) everyone is wrong. Bundling is generally better for consumers and producers.


Stratechery also has written about this

That's an interesting perspective, but it kind of looks like a lot of graphs saying "You should pay for stuff you don't want because otherwise it would incentivize the sellers to price gouge you for the stuff you do want"

I'm kind of confused, if it's an adversarial relationship where the seller is going to extract as much money from you as possible in either scenario, wouldn't some consumers prefer to pay specifically to starve out content they'd prefer not to see?

Maybe I'm not understanding this page, but it looks like it's "good" for me because instead of paying $9-10 for the History Channel alone I'll be paying $11.70 for History Channel + ESPN (which I will literally never watch)?

I'm not a calculus genius but I'd prefer to spend less money and only have what I want. This model assumes that I'd be willing to spend $3 per month on ESPN, but how does the graph look if I were willing to spend $0 per month on it? Or hell, since pricing is arbitrary, I'd like to pay -$3 per month as a courtesy for having to scroll past content I genuinely do not want to consume let alone subsidize?

The argument is not about your buying preferences as a consumer. Of course if you had a choice between (a) paying X for watching stuff, or (b) paying Y for the ability to watch exactly the same thing, but Y is overall less money because it is somehow dependent of the amount that you consume, that is the better choice.

However, the economic equilibrium of a perfectly unbundled system is not that you get to watch the same thing for less money. It is, in the general case, that you either get less content, or pay more, or both.

To take your example, realize that it is outlier behavior to be willing to pay $9/mo for History and $0/mo for ESPN. If you took History channel, with the content that it has now, out of the cable bundle and tried to sell it $9/mo, or even $1/mo, there would be way too few interested customers to make such a proposition economically viable.

In a perfectly unbundled world, content such as the History channel does not exist. You only have marquee content like ESPN, movies for rental or purchase, or (if lowercase history is your thing) highly produced documentaries, i.e. the kind of content that willingness to pay for is high enough to justify the high customer acquisition cost. You do not have content like History channel because it lies in that tier of things that many people are kind of interested in watching, but only if it comes with something else more valuable that they already paid for.

One can debate the societal value of the existence of content such as the History channel to begin with, but that's what the argument is about, not about the consumer's individual preferences in a hypothetical world where it would be possible to watch the same content for cheaper.

This misunderstands the market. I would pay for the History Channel but I wouldn't pay for ESPN. And I won't pay for a bundle because then 'analysts' will think I'm getting it for ESPN.

History Channel is cheap to make compared to sports, would definitely be able to pay for itself with cheap subscriptions.

Cable TV with bundling is just a local maxima established decades ago. The long tail of interest that drives regular youtube is the proof.

If this misunderstands the market, I'd be interested in a positive proof of a channel like History making it as an independent offering. I don't personally know of any.

> You do not have content like History channel because it lies in that tier of things that many people are kind of interested in watching, but only if it comes with something else more valuable that they already paid for.

This seems like you're saying "bundling mis-serves the customer." If the History Channel would not exist if people could pay for it directly, then why should it ought to exist?

The idea the article is trying to get at is (I think) that people are willing to pay for the history channel, but as long as they're more willing to pay for some other channels, studios will just jack up the price of the other channels to the point where their funds for discretionary spending on television are exhausted very quickly. This is because it's cheaper for the studios to get people to pay more per show while producing fewer shows, as this increases their profit margins to the maximum they can get away with. The argument that this is bad for consumers is pretty straightforward, but I will point out that these incentives only work so long as consumers have no choice about their cable provider. i.e., the problem is that cable providers are monopolies, not the bundling specifically. Moreover, we've clearly seen over the last two decades that these monopolistic practices have driven huge numbers of people away from television... unfortunately, usually the competition requires the internet, and the same cable companies control internet access, so there's no particular reason for them to change their business model.

That's what I meant by, we can debate the merits of the History channel to begin with. I only took challenge to the notion that there is a world in which unbundling happens and consumers get to watch the same content for less money.

Whether or not it is "mis-serving customers" depends a bit on whether there's abuse of monopoly power, which is an argument one can make about the cable companies, but not so much about the over-the-top services like HBO Go, Disney+, Netflix, or Prime, all of which are structured as a bundle. I'm not sure Prime customers, for example, are unhappy or feel mis-served by being able to watch TV shows on top of being able to order items with fast, free shipping. Bundling can be used for nefarious value-extraction in a monopolistic market, but it can also bring consumers value, so we shouldn't conflate the two.

In many competitive markets, bundling is often a consumer's preference that does serve customers well. For example, most coffee shops don't charge for sugar, creamer, and other condiments, and you maybe have some aggrieved consumers complaining that they should get a discount for drinking only black coffee. It's likely that coffee creamer companies would go bankrupt if people had to pay for condiments at every coffee shop, and we can debate whether it's even a good idea then. But on the whole, I don't think that turns into an argument that coffee shops are mis-serving customers by providing condiments that are free of charge, that is to say, bundled with the price of coffee.

Personally I live in an almost perfectly unbundled world of content already, because I tend to buy or rent the TV shows that I'm personally interested in. This works for me because I have little time to watch, don't like ads, and have enough disposable income that I'm not thinking twice about cost, but I'm not sure that many other consumers would be satisfied with the kind of entertainment experience where they have to pay $2 per episode of their favorite show.

You aren't going to be able to spend less money though. Since there's zero marginal cost to adding extra channels, you should assume that the price you're getting charged isn't actually based on the number of channels you subscribe to.

A better way to think about bundle pricing is that the channels you really want cost $50, and they throw in a whole bunch of other crap for free. Why turn down free stuff?

If those channels are free (and by that reasoning, not actually factored into the price of my package) then why am I unable to get individual channels or create my own bundle? Either I'm subsidizing stuff that I don't want to watch, or I'm not.

Is your point that I can't spend less because... they're going to get $50 out of me either way? Except that's impossible because there is no other way so there's literally no way of knowing a theoretical cost so it's safest to assume it's going to be $50 or more?

The parent comment lists a specific reason why they'd turn directly the 'free' stuff. It requires more effort to then access the content they want to get to when they have to navigate around the cruft.

Whether that factors much into your personal value assessment or not, that is a valid downside to having a bunch of extra channels you don't intend to watch.

People don't turn down free stuff. It's just that they no longer value the content provided via TV channels at the price they are asking. The fundamental problem is content that used to be delivered via TV is no longer worth what it once was.

If that's the case, then the prices should go down for bundled content (and this does in fact appear to be what is happening).

A la carte makes no sense.

Except this article is about YouTube TV adding more channels and charging everyone more.

They're announcing these things at the same time for obvious reasons, but you can assume the prices would have gone up anyway.

That seems like an awful lot of assuming. Even if it's true that they needed to raise the price of their existing channel offering, and only added new channels to help justify the price increase, that still counts as bundling being used to increase the price.

Anti-bundling rants based on subsidizing unwanted channels are illogical. You're annoyed at paying for cable channels you don't watch but OK paying full freight for Netflix where you'll watch less than 5% of the available content? You're subsidizing the other 95%! Or that a-la-carte channel you want, you won't be watching it 24 hours per day so why subsidize programming that's on when you're sleeping or at work? Do you listen to every genre on Spotify? Use every machine at your gym? Drive on every road in your town? Read every article in the local newspaper (if your town still prints one)? Refuse to subsidize! Demand some money back!

Its not unbundling you really want, or a-la-carte, it's just a lower price tag.

> Or that a-la-carte channel you want, you won't be watching it 24 hours per day so why subsidize programming that's on when you're sleeping or at work?

You have correctly identified the business case for cinema and DVDs.

And buying DVD's is a terrible value compared to a service like Netflix, so congrats, you just reinforced their point.

Like, a single movie DVD/Blu Ray costs about as much as an entire month of Netflix. Unless you're hardly watching any TV shows or movies on Netflix, that's just an awful value.

I can get an entire season of one of my favorite TV shows on DVD at the used bookstore for an average of $15. Not only does it usually take me a month to go through the 24 episodes in a typical season, but there's special features to enjoy and I can re-watch the show at any time without paying for it a second time.

I watch less than one movie a month.

There's something about your use of "correctly" here that seems hostile, arrogant and antagonistic. This isn't a quiz, nobody was even talking about movies or DVDs, and I certainly wasn't seeking "FeepingCreature"'s validation.

The cinema business case is “going out” “big screen” and “new release” but this could all be disrupted. It’s not a payg model that attracts people to the cinema and many movie chains have a subscription model!

There are certain channels whose content I feel causes societal damage. Namely, Fox news. Id happily pay a buck or two more to ensure not a dime of my bill subsidizes that channel.

I'm not sure about other people but I don't "think" I want a la carte, I absolutely know I do. So much so that I don't pay for anything because nobody offers what I'm willing to pay for.

No you don't.

It's like saying that you'd be willing to pay for a $2/month Spotify subscription for only the genres of music you want. That's not how the economics work. Going a la carte would mean paying as much as a bundle, for less content.

The problem here is that people's mental models are fundamentally self-centered. They imagine paying half or less for just the channels they want.

But in total, that would mean media companies getting half or less the revenue, for producing the same content -- since the marginal cost of giving extra channels is basically zero, they don't gain any money back by giving you fewer channels. Now, media companies aren't that profitable, the math simply doesn't work out, they wouldn't be able to actually make all that content. Many channels would simply be cut.

>Going a la carte would mean paying as much as a bundle, for less content. //

You're arguing past people. Plenty have said they're fine paying the same or more for access to less content.

I used to watch about 2 shows a week on BBC (UK; 1-1.5hrs) and disagreed with paying £M to TV show presenters who just preside over long, talky adverts for Hollywood movies and mainstream media. So I don't pay (nor watch) anymore.

I'd pay to watch those couple of shows separately. As it happens though they occasionally make their way to Netflix, so I don't have to ... but I'd still pay to watch them when they're still current.

Looks to me like there's money left on the table.

Personally I'd like to see some form of legislation that requires shows to be made available to consumers if they are available to other channels - I could pay double to BBC what Netflix pay them to get the show and we'd both win; and I wouldn't mind having it on Netflix, might watch it again.

Now BBC is a special case; I can't work out why they need to compete commercially, nor why we allow showmakers to form companies to be paid through, etc.. they should work on salaried staff paid on civil service pay scales IMO.

> Plenty have said they're fine paying the same or more for access to less content.

Really? I haven't seen anyone say they want to pay more for less content. The unspoken assumption always seems to be "if I was getting fewer channels I'd be paying less", logic which works fine for tangible goods, but less so for ones with nearly zero marginal cost to produce.

Spotify pays artists based on the number of times their work is played, so that comparison isn’t valid. Most people have no trouble paying $10/month for what they actually use - and if the $50/month for cable was divided similarly I’m sure there would be far less complaining.

Of course, broadcast technology doesn’t support that and we have decades of industry built around a different model, giving all of the incumbents a strong incentive to resist any sort of change.

I find it funny that people are arguing that you don't want this and actually want bundling services when you're flat out saying you aren't currently paying for what's being offered.

I don't even want a la carte, I'm fine with just "It's on Netflix/Hulu/HBO Max or I don't need to watch it." I'm not willing to pay more than $20 a month for TV most months, with the rare extra service to get caught up on a show I really like.

Many of those channels you "don't want" actually subsidize the channels you do want.

Further, most channels he does want can only exist in a bundled world, since too few people would pay for that specific channel a la carte

At least for me, I find that unlikely. I'm paying a fee for sports channels I have no interest in (because you can't not pay it), I'm buying a bundle that I only want a couple channels in, and those are the channels most people want. I would guess that I fall into the majority that are subsidizing the minority.

Things like Home Shopping and religious networks pay the cable company for carriage.

In aggregate sure, but individuals only care about optimizing their own purchase.

Ie more choice more better.

Personally I was pissed when my reward for early evangelization of YoutubeTV was a Hike from $35 to $50. But now that it’s $65, I’m donzo.

This will take people back to the days of torrents and piracy.

Back to?

I'm not a professional economist, but to my eye this assumes that if I'm willing to pay $10 for one channel and $3 for another, I'm willing to pay $13 for both. This seems like a bad assumption especially for media, because since TV channels serve as substitutions for each other; if I watch one I'm not going to watch another. I'm not sure if this simplification preserves the results.

I’m actually more of a fan of a la carte content than channels. I typically spend $0-100/mo on TV shows and movies, which I strip the DRM from and copy into my permanent collection. In aggregate, I probably spend something comparable to what cable would cost. It’s all content I want with no filler or commercials, and I’m not held hostage by some subscription.

This [1] article on the four myths of bundling agrees

[1] https://coda.io/@shishir/four-myths-of-bundling

Thank goodness I have economists around to tell me I'm wrong about my own buying preferences.

The economists are wrong about economics too.

That article is an absurdly oversimplified model. In the real world, the networks would find some way to diversify between the $3 and $10 channel offerings, letting them get $3 from the $3 person and $10 from the $10 person.

edit: Correction, they do mention this common and widespread approach... in a footnote. Without saying anything about why it wouldn't work.

You think Youtube is getting strongarmed by Comcast? That’s surprising. Google could easily hold out for a la carte if they wanted to.

Comcast? Viacom recently merged with CBS and is effectively its own company https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ViacomCBS.

You need to think about it more holistically - not just YouTube, but Google as a whole (think about all the various Google enterprise products, cloud, etc).

I don't understand why they don't do that with YouTube channels too [edit: as in "sub to each channel a la cart"]. Let users pay $1 or $2 a month to disable ads on a channel (or $10 a month for "YouTube Premium"). That seems much more sustainable than relying exclusively on ads for income and loosing potential subscription customers to Patreon. They could even offer higher priced, per-channel subscription tiers that add flairs to comments and unlock emojis like Twitch.

Twitch, Floatplane, and Patreon are all proof it's a viable strategy.

Ad revenue has proven to be terribly unstable and YouTube is extremely expensive to maintain. They should be desperately trying to diversify their revenue.

Right now, every video that isn't "advertiser friendly" is dead weight and money on the table.

> I don't understand why they don't do that with YouTube channels too. Let users pay $1 or $2 a month to disable ads on a channel (or $10 a month for "YouTube Premium"). That seems much more sustainable than relying exclusively on ads for income and loosing potential subscription customers to Patreon. They could even offer higher priced, per-channel subscription tiers that ad flairs to comments and unlock emojis like Twitch.

Complex subscription options are one of the easiest way to lose subscribers.

> Twitch, Floatplane, and Patreon are all proof it's a viable strategy.

It's far from being proven:

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/23/crowd-funding-platform-patre... https://www.fool.com/investing/2020/01/15/amazons-twitch-hit...

> Ad revenue has proven to be terribly unstable and YouTube is extremely expensive to maintain. They should be desperately trying to diversify their revenue.

Source? Alphabets ad revenue is extremely stable for the company and keeps on growing. So is YouTube share in it. Ad revenue for creators tho - that's a different story.

> Complex subscription options are one of the easiest way to lose subscribers.

Source? Twitch and Patreon get along just fine. The existing options can continue as they are.

> It's far from being proven.

YouTube has already swallowed the expensive part of the deal - creating a video hosting platform. I'm just asking them to augment their monetization scheme that other platforms have already demonstrated demand for.

> Source? Alphabets ad revenue is extremely stable for the company and keeps on growing.

Source for what? Of course YouTube is expensive. It's expensive to host content at that scale. It's expensive to regulate content at that scale to comply with the law and satisfy ad partners. I don't know what else to say. I don't know if YouTube operates at a profit or not, but that's not really relevant.

What matters is YouTube's profit is almost completely dependent on their ability to sell ads. Content without ads can only benefit the platform if it drives premium subscriptions or drives users towards content with ads.

> Source? Twitch and Patreon get along just fine. The existing options can continue as they are.

It’s how human brain operates. We’re very easily overwhelmed with multiple options.


> Source for what?

Source for a claim that selling ads is extremely unstable. Check alphabet or Facebook earning reports from last 10 years.

> I don't know if YouTube operates at a profit or not, but that's not really relevant.

How is operating at profit not relevant in a context of a business model? Especially when suggested business models of companies that lose money, like patreon, as a something that YouTube should be doing.

We’re so deep in the bubble now. Real business models and profits are irrelevant as long as they seem cool.

> It’s how human brain operates. We’re very easily overwhelmed with multiple options.

Then just present those options intelligently. Without overwhelming the user. I'm not convinced the model I'm proposing is that complex. Many content creators supplement their income with this exact model, but YouTube doesn't get a cut.

> Source for a claim that selling ads is extremely unstable. Check alphabet or Facebook earning reports from last 10 years.

Earning reports do not reflect the revenue earned from each ad. Alphabet is a massive company that serves ads on much more than just YouTube. The mounting interest YouTube has shown in "advertiser friendly" and "kid friendly" content demonstrates how concerned they are regarding their ad revenue.

> How is operating at profit not relevant in a context of a business model? Especially when suggested business models of companies that lose money, like patreon, as a something that YouTube should be doing.

You keep bringing up how Patreon isn't doing well as though it's obviously the fault of the monetization model, rather than the extraordinary cost of deploying a diverse content hosting service that has to compete with established giants like YouTube. YouTube already has that part done. They are paying to host the content no matter how they monetize it. Why do you think deploying a new, optional monetization option will result in a net loss?

I brought up Patreon, Twitch, and Floatplane because they demonstrate there is demand for that model. If YouTube offers it, people will certainly buy it. Just the a la cart, per-channel, tiered subscription model. That's it.

Whether or not YouTube operates in the black is not particularly relevant. I'm talking about augmenting their existing ad-based revenue model, not replacing it. For the overwhelming majority of users, it wouldn't change a thing, but YouTube could stand to bring in a lot more revenue from the minority who would be willing to purchase payed subs to support the platform and creators.

> Let users pay $1 or $2 a month to disable ads on a channel (or $10 a month for "YouTube Premium"). That seems much more sustainable than relying exclusively on ads for income

They already do and have for quite some time.


That is not a la cart. I want the option to subscribe to individual channels - ideally with multiple tiers.

They do that as well. It‘s called channel memberships. Though they are nowhere near Twitch yet in terms of funcionality.


You need to in the Partner program and have 30‘000 subs though (1000 for gaming content).

This is obviously very important for YouTube Gaming. They are (finally) getting into bundling one membership per month with YouTube Premium.

This is IMO the single most reason why Twitch is so successful. They should’ve copied Twitch Prime much earlier. The fact that kids can use their free sub a month from their parents Amazon Prime sub was a stroke of genius.

Interesting. I watch a lot of content through YouTube daily, but I have never seen this "Channel Memberships" thing. Thanks!

EDIT: Wow. I'm even subed to MKBHD, the example you use in your other comment, and I never noticed the "Join" button before. YouTube does a terrible job of advertising that! How am I even supposed to know what "Join" means? Thanks again for pointing that out!

In your parenthesis you said, "or ten dollars a month on YouTube premium." What did you mean by that? I thought you meant that a YouTube premium subscription for $10 a month would be acceptable but maybe you meant something else.

"YouTube Premium" is a subscription service that allows users to disable ads on the entire platform (plus a few other minor perks) for a flat monthly fee. I guess it's actually $12/month, not $10/month. That subscription fee supplements the platform and creators for the lost ad revenue.

I meant that they could continue to offer YouTube Premium as a way to disable ads on all channels and support premium subscriptions for individual channels as an alternative for users who might not be interested in buying YouTube Premium just to support one or two channels.

> as a way to disable ads on all channels and support premium subscriptions for individual channels

Ah. In your comment you said "or," so I thought you meant "or." As in YouTube should offer this or that, not YouTube should offer this and that. But it seems like another poster has also brought up the relatively new channel membership feature.

Isn't the exactly what YouTube Premium is (https://www.youtube.com/premium)?

No. YouTube Premium is a subscription to the whole platform, not a channel. It does not allow me to subscribe to channels a la cart. If I only watch one or two channels regularly, my options are to A) buy YouTube Premium, B) watch with ads, C) watch with an ad blocker. I bet YouTube would see more than a few people switch from C to B if they supported per-channel subscriptions.

They could bring in even more revenue with subscription tiers that offer trivial rewards like comment flairs, special emojis, or early access to videos. Even if most of the extra revenue from higher tiers goes to the channel instead of the platform, it would still be extra revenue for practically no cost.

YouTube also lets you subscribe to individual channels. Go to some of the popular ones and you'll see a price next to the subscribe button. Channels can choose to publish videos to subscribers only.

Got link? I've literally never seen these. (Or maybe I'm just in a geo that doesn't support this?)

MKBHD‘s channel supports it for example:


You should see a blue „Join“ button next to the sub button.

It‘s called channel membership. You need to be in the partner program and have 30‘000 subscribers (1000 for gaming channels) to activate it.


Edit: depending on what your region is it might not be a thing yet. But if your region supports Premium, I‘m pretty sure memberships are supported as well.


There's a "join" button next to the "subscribe" button. You have to be logged in to see it.

Now they're doing the exact thing that drove everyone away from their cable company to them in the first place. It's clear misunderstanding of their customers. I'm sure most of the HN demographic would have no real trouble affording this 30% rate hike, but it's not about the actual money, it's about the principle.

They're also no longer price-competitive with traditional cable TV, which many people rely on as their only source of wired Internet. When it costs $60/mo for Internet, and only another $40/mo to bundle cable TV, why would I spend $25 extra for YouTube TV instead? The unlimited DVR is nice, but most cable providers also offer some DVR functionality and tons of on-demand content. They also increasingly offer streaming to other devices. YouTube TV is only a marginally better experience in some ways, and worse in others, with a smaller channel selection. At $40, it was monetarily a wash; at $65, they need to offer something that cable isn't giving me, and at the moment they don't.

This sounds like cable TV packages with extra steps — and the precedent there is to still have ads even after gouging the cusotmer.

Paying $65 to watch ads, no please.

10 dollars felt too much compared to free youtube, and now they want 65 for whatever they are selling.

YouTube TV has nothing at all to do with YouTube proper. It's purely branding. TV is comparable to Sling or DirecTV or your local cable TV option.

I pay for YouTube Red because I can skip through ads. It's worth it.

In YouTube TV you get to see unavoidable ads, unlike in TV where you can switch the channel while those ads are running.

I use YouTube TV and this comment confuses me. What exactly do you think is stopping you from changing channels?

Yeah, it works just like TV. There are no unskippable ads or interstitials. Also with unlimited DVR and time-shifting, I rarely watch live, and I can skip all the commercials (albeit manually).

> I pay for YouTube Red because I can skip through ads. It's worth it.

Hard to see how this could possibly be worth it, since you can also skip the ads for free.

This isn't necessarily true. I don't have any behind the scenes knowledge, but I suspect that enough money or reputation can buy you unskippable ads. I've had several ads I have been unable to skip, running to as long as 15 seconds for the TV+ Tom Hanks movie from Apple. Almost every ad for a Google product has also been unskippable.

Could just be an extension of Google's anti-Apple UX design, but I would be rather surprised.

This probably depends on the client you are using - using Youtube in browser with adblockers, I have never seen an ad on Youtube, much less an unskippable one. So I take this is what the parent comment meant by "you can also skip the ads for free".

Not all ads can be fully skipped, and skipping the ad takes at least a couple of seconds. You can also get multiple ads in a video.

I use YouTube for many purposes: music, learning, recreation, etc. and i'd rather pay like $10 a month than spend 1 hour a month watching ads.

For the record, I do not care at all about YouTube Red exclusive content.

> Not all ads can be fully skipped, and skipping the ad takes at least a couple of seconds. You can also get multiple ads in a video.

You're not watching them right. All ads can be fully skipped, preemptively, at a time cost of zero. If you don't like the ads, just don't watch them. There's no reason to pay for YouTube Red.

Not watching them involves waiting a few seconds for the skip ad button to appear.

That time adds up to 30 to 60 min a month. Let's say 45 min a month in average. That means, saving 45 min of my spare time costs $12, the cost of YouTube Red.

45 min of my spare time is much more valuable than $12, so I just pay for it.

> Not watching them involves waiting a few seconds for the skip ad button to appear.

You're hallucinating. Just read the sidethread comment from tpm:

> I have never seen an ad on Youtube, much less an unskippable one.

What do you mean? YouTube Premium removes ads, there is no skipping through them.

Just cancelled. The value proposition of YouTube TV was great a few years ago, for $40 a month. They've added a bunch of channels I won't watch several times, and raised the price multiple times now. I wish they had a cheaper option, with the original channels.

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