YouTube TV debuts in Boston, adds NESN to channel lineup

NESN without cable: YouTube TV now has Red Sox and Bruins games YouTube TV debuted in …

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NESN without cable: YouTube TV now has Red Sox and Bruins games

YouTube TV debuted in Boston this week, bringing a channel lineup that includes New England Sports Network.

NESN is among 53 channels that Boston customers will be able to live stream through YouTube TV, including other popular networks like AMC, National Geographic and Bravo.

The live streaming service poses yet another challenge to cable TV companies in the New England market such as Comcast, RCN and Spectrum.

Traditional cable and satellite TV customers have continued to drop nationally. Research firm SNL Kagan reported that this week that pay TV companies lost 976,000 customers in the second quarter.

For $35 per month, subscribers to YouTube TV will get both local and national channels. For anyone looking to ditch their cable subscription and save money, the real key to savings will be getting an inexpensive Internet-only subscription.

My guide on how to get Internet without cable can give you some know-how to knock down your bill.

YouTube TV focuses on bringing local, national channels

Google’s venture into streaming live TV channels over the Internet is now available in more than half of U.S. households. YouTube TV debuted in five cities back in April.

Plans are underway to add 17 more markets including Cleveland, Denver and St. Louis in the coming weeks, according to cnet. Below is a graphic of the channel lineup offered in Boston. 


YouTube TV is competing with similar services like DirecTV Now, Sling TV, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue and Hulu with Live TV. Many of these companies are in a race to add local NBC, CBS and FOX affiliates to their lineups.

YouTube is offering a free trial to attract new customers, and is even giving away a Chromecast to paying customers. Competitors like DirecTV Now have been doing similar campaigns. DirecTV Now offers a free 7-day trial. Customers who prepay for two months of their service can get a free Roku Premiere.

But YouTube TV was wise to obtain rights to live stream NESN. PS Vue is the only other live streaming service that carries the network.

Having NESN on PS Vue gave a much needed alternative to cable for a lot of sports fans around New England. But those same sports fans subscribing to Vue might be shopping around again since Sony announced a $10 price increase that will hit many longtime subscribers this fall. 

RELATED: [NESN Live Stream]: 3 Ways to Watch without cable

 What do I need to stream YouTube TV?

For now, streaming YouTube TV is pretty limited. The only way to watch it on a large TV screen is by using Google Chromecast or AirPlay via Apple TV. There are apps for Android and iOS that work on smartphones and tablets. A Google executive told cnet that “this fall we’ll be rolling out a number of different living room solutions.”

App support for Roku, Fire TV and Android TV, a Google-owned software, could soon be on the horizon.

Here’s my review: YouTube TV: live streaming that easily replaces cable.

Jim Kimble is a seasoned industry expert with over two decades of journalism experience. He has been at the forefront of the cord-cutting movement since 2016, testing and writing about TV-related products and services. He founded The Cord Cutting Report in 2016, and serves as the editor.

Major publications, including MarketWatch, Forbes, and South Florida Sun Sentinel, have interviewed Kimble for his years of expertise. He gives advice on the complexities consumers are navigating with streaming options, and over-the-air TV. Kimble has been a staff writer or correspondent for several award-winning, daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe.

5 thoughts on “YouTube TV debuts in Boston, adds NESN to channel lineup”

  1. Does anyone know about the bandwidth needed for youtube tv? I would like to get by with my service that is usually right at 9.5, although at times it slows to about 6 or 7. I currently have PVue and I am fine except for some of the slowdowns that can cause some minor stuttering. Sling was not as picky when I tried it. Fubo tells me they need 20, but I wonder if that is for when you have multiple users on. I know the regular youtube videos play fine on a slower service, but this may be different. Thanks for any info.

  2. Really hoping NESN gets on board with some of the other streaming sites. I’m on VUE now just because it was the only one w/ NESN, but Youtube is the weakest of the streaming packages so I won’t be switching. PLEASE get on DirectTV now or SlingTV NESN!

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if you see NESN pop up on some other streaming services. There’s definitely a race going on among all these live streaming companies to add local channels, and to have local sports networks. Based on what I’ve read, NESN wants to be in the space of live/mobile streaming. So I would anticipate more deals in the future.

  3. I know from life that cable companies may just let this happen to themselves although I can’t understand why. Any chance that cable will get with it, lower prices and work deals to give us more choice with channel packages instead of tons of junk I don’t want? Is there some reason why they have to charge as much as they do? Something I don’t understand with their costs? I want cable, I don’t like streaming using the pain in the ass, expensive glitchy net. Cable works instantly and near perfectly 99% of the time. I want cable.

    • There is an excellent article published a few days ago in Time magazine that you can find on my Twitter feed (@iamcordcutter) that’s worth a read. It hits the mark on some of the same questions you’re asking.

      I think some of cable’s problems (e.g. being overpriced) are somewhat self inflicted. The business model of cable and satellite is not only old, but often inflexible. It leaves consumers paying for a lot of bloat they don’t want.

      No one should assume that what we are seeing now with cable or live streaming TV will look the same in the next five years. Technology is changing and getting better. Consumer habits are changing even faster. Businesses will either adapt or be left behind. With around 96 million pay-TV subscribers still in the U.S., cable isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. So that just leaves one question. How much are you willing to pay for TV?


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