YouTube Premium Versus YouTube TV: What’s The Difference?

YouTube Premium

YouTube has grown up. Long gone are the days where it was just a video sharing platform for amateurs equipped with handycams and grainy footage shot from their backyards. Now, not only has the quality of content reached its pinnacle,  but YouTube has also managed to become the second most popular website in the US, falling behind only Google.

In a single month, YouTube attracts close to 2 billion visits from signed-in users. These individuals consume billions of hours of video content, which has propelled YouTube to the status of an unavoidable marketing channel in the Digital Age.

It has also prompted we explain the importance of YouTube TV ads. The company understands that not all these visitors use the platform in the same way. Thus, they developed services, like YouTube Premium and YouTube TV, that cater to the needs of certain audience segments.

Whether you’re an avid YouTube user, a marketer or advertiser that leverages the video-sharing platform, or a content creator on the channel, understanding the difference between these paid YouTube services is important.

YouTube TV Premium

Formally known as YouTube Red, the company changed the name to YouTube Premium to make it more clear what this paid feature was all about.

The most attractive feature from YouTube Premium is ad-free viewing. For $11.99 a month (also includes the first month for free!), you can watch your favourite YouTube content creators without any interruption from ads. 

For some users that can’t help but to binge out on hours of YouTube content, this alone is worth the monthly fee. However, YouTube Premium doesn’t just offer ad-free service. It also has a lot of features and functions that help make YouTube better for all types of users.

For example, you can download YouTube content for offline viewing later. This is a great feature for people that want to watch their video content on-the-go, perhaps during their morning commute, but want to avoid eating into their data plan.

YouTube Premium gives users the option to play content in the background, which works wonderfully with the YouTube Music selection that you’re also given access to.

For families, YouTube Kids delivers additional parental control settings that ensure your younger ones are only watching age-appropriate videos.

As a YouTube Premium subscriber, you can watch exclusive, original content produced by the platform and featuring some of its most popular creators. While there isn’t a ton of content available yet, YouTube is said to have a lot of projects in development that will help make their selection of originals much more robust.

To recap, YouTube Premium costs $11.99 a month and offers:

  • Ad-free watching
  • Offline viewing capabilities
  • Background play functionality
  • Access to YouTube Family, YouTube Music and YouTube Originals content

YouTube TV

There’s a growing trend among TV watchers to “cut the cord.” In other words, move away from costly cable TV services and towards online streaming services. Industry reports show that major cable companies are losing subscribers left and right. In Q3 of 2018 alone, 1.16 million subscribers cut ties with their cable providers.

YouTube is hoping to capitalize on this trend with its YouTube TV service, which allows subscribers to stream their favourite cable network TV shows and watch live TV from local affiliates.

The service now costs $49.99 a month (up from $39.99 in April 2019), which may seem steep, especially compared to the price of YouTube Premium. However, it is less than what many consumers see on their monthly cable bill.

YouTube TV has managed to add a lot of major channels to its service, which means you can watch most, if not all, of your favourite cable TV programs. They have over 80 channels available, with more being added as the months go by. There are also additional, premium channels that can be added for a few dollars more, such as ShowTime, NBA League Pass and others.

One of the big draws that YouTube TV has is its dedication to live sports. This is a big pain point for many cord-cutters. How am I going to watch my local sports teams without cable? YouTube TV has ensured that live sports and news can be enjoyed by its subscribers.

YouTube TV also offers users unlimited cloud DVR storage. You can save any number of shows to watch later and YouTube TV will keep them in your DVR for 9 months. Plus, you can watch from anywhere! A YouTube TV account allows you to create six user profiles, so the whole family can enjoy their live TV.

There are a few drawbacks to YouTube TV. First, you need a device like Roku or Apple TV to stream to a TV. Some content, particularly certain live events, cannot be streamed on a mobile device. It’s worth mentioning that YouTube TV does NOT work on Amazon’s Fire TV.

The other downside is that YouTube TV is still in the process of securing certain major channels, like PBS, TBS and Viacom (MTV, Comedy Central and many others), just to name a few.


  • Costs $49.99
  • 80+ major channels and access to live sports, news and events
  • Unlimited DVR storage
  • 6 user accounts
  • Does not work with Amazon Fire
  • Not all live TV can be streamed on mobile devices
  • Still missing some key channels

Which Is Better, YouTube Premium Or YouTube TV?

It all depends on what you want out of your YouTube service. If you want a more affordable way to watch live television, news and sports, then YouTube TV is a great way to cut the cord and escape traditional cable television.

On the other hand, if you just want more out of your traditional YouTube service, choosing the Premium option is a great idea. This is a great choice for some consumers because YouTube’s video sharing community has a lot of excellent content creators. And, this content is particularly popular with younger age groups that prefer watching their favourite YouTubers over primetime television programs.

What about both? YouTube has yet to package both services into a single cost. However, both services do give you access to YouTube Originals content. Collectively, the two services would cost you around $62.00, plus any other taxes or fees for adding premium TV channels.