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App review: YouTube TV, easy to record live TV, weak parental controls

By Neilie Johnson common Sense Media (Tns) - | Sep 9, 2017

Parents need to know that YouTube TV is a free app that must be attached to a paid monthly subscription service in order to work. It gives access to lots of network TV and YouTube Red originals, but isn’t a portal to YouTube itself. A range of network and cable stations are available for a $39.99 month-to-month subscription fee, and premium channels are available at an additional charge. Up to six people can share the account, but users must be at least 13 and have a Google account. A per-device filter allows users to toggle between G and PG-rated content, though it’s easy to turn off. User accounts are automatically connected to Nielsen ratings tracking; you have to go to the Nielsen website to opt out. Note that you need an internet connection for the app to work, and you must be in one of the select cities. Read the app’s privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

YouTube TV is a “free” app that requires a monthly subscription fee. It allows you to watch live TV anywhere (as long as you have a good internet connection) as well as search for and record your favorite shows. It also lets you save shows in a personal library, record them at the touch of a button, and filter content (per device) to protect your kids. However, the parental controls only allow you to toggle between G and PG-rated content, and they’re easy to shut off. Enjoy unlimited DVR storage and keep recorded shows for up to nine months.

IS IT ANY GOOD?

This app’s a no-brainer if you need a way to keep your kids (or yourself) busy. As long as you don’t mind paying the $40 monthly fee you can enjoy live TV, so long as you live in a select city and your internet connection is strong enough. It’s extremely easy to search for shows and add them to your personal library, and the second you add them, they’re set to record. The month-to-month, cancel-anytime policy is nice, as is being able to share your account among six people and watch shows on up to three devices at once. The only downside really, is that like with any other TV subscription service, some shows and channels just aren’t available, so if you’re using YouTube TV to augment your other subscriptions, things can get a little pricey. All told, it’s a nice entertainment add-on for your smart phone, if you don’t mind forking over the cash.

RATING AND CONTENT

Recommended for ages 13 and older

Quality: 4 out of 5

Educational value: 2 out of 5

Ease of play: 5 out of 5

Violence: 3 out of 5

Sex: 3 out of 5

Language: 3 out of 5

Drinking, drugs, and smoking: 3 out of 5

Consumerism: 3 out of 5 (Are products/advertisements embedded? Is the title part of a broader marketing initiative/empire? Is the intent to sell things to kids?)

APP DETAILS

Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android

Price: Free to try

Subscription price: $39.99 and up

Release date: April 5, 2017

Category: Lifestyle

Size: 108.00 MB

Publisher: Google Inc

Minimum software requirements: iOS 9.1 or later; Android 5.0 and up

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Common Sense Media is an independent nonprofit organization offering unbiased ratings and trusted advice to help families make smart media and technology choices. Check out our ratings and recommendations at www.commonsense.org.

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