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YouTube TV: How Many Devices Can Stream at the Same Time

Along with the price and selection of channels, it is worth knowing how many streams you get with YouTube TV.

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YouTube TV subscribers can stream on up to three devices at the same time. This is irrespective of whether watching live TV or recorded cloud DVR content. Although YouTube TV allows up to six household members to share a single subscription, the number of accounts also does not affect the overall number of simultaneous streams. Whether one or six accounts are linked to a YouTube TV membership, there are still only three same-time streams available.

The number of streams a service like YouTube TV offers can directly impact the overall experience, and almost as much as the channels or even the price. After all, if everyone in a busy household expects to be able to watch live TV when they want, and on what devices they want, then they might find streaming services are not quite as helpful as they first thought.

Understanding just how many streams YouTube TV offers before signing up can go a long way to making sure the streaming service is actually the right one for your individual household’s shared needs.

Three family members can watch YouTube TV at once

YouTube TV provides subscribers with a maximum of three streams. This is irrespective of the device being used. Therefore it does not matter whether channels are being streamed on a computer, smartphone, or living room device. In this sense, YouTube TV treats all devices equally and this is also irrespective of whether the three devices are connected to the same home network or not.

Read more: You Can Watch YouTube TV Away from Home (With Caveats)

This limitation could become a real issue for busy households or those who share a YouTube TV subscription with family or friends. While the option to share a single monthly payment with others is a major selling point for YouTube TV, accounts and streams are not the same thing, and largely have no effect on each other.

TV family account
YouTube TV accounts unrelated to number of streams

Yes, each time someone connects to YouTube TV, the number of streams is reduced. However, even one account could eat up all three simultaneous streams by accessing three channels on three different devices. Therefore, streams are not directly linked to the number of accounts. By the same token, this also means that if six people are sharing the same YouTube TV subscription, the number of streams does not automatically increase or adjust.

YouTube TV streams and DVR recordings

Besides the ability to share an account with others, another major streaming service benefit is the option to record content to a cloud DVR. In fact, this is one of the primary benefits of YouTube TV specifically, considering it offers the best cloud DVR experience overall.

YouTube TV not only provides unlimited cloud DVR, but it is also customized to each account member, with each having their own unlimited cloud DVR. Furthermore, this really is unlimited in the sense that each account can record as much as they want, as often as they way. Essentially, they could record everything on YouTube TV, if they really wanted.

YouTube TV recordings
YouTube TV comes with unlimited cloud DVR

However, that generosity is only with recording videos as when it comes to playing back those same recordings, YouTube TV’s leniency disappears. From YouTube TV’s perspective, it makes no difference whether an account is streaming live TV or recorded content. As they are streaming content, they are occupying a stream. Therefore, watching recorded content also impacts on the number of simultaneous streams available at the time.

No, you can’t add more streams to YouTube TV

While all streaming services tend to place a cap on how many streams they offer, some are willing to negotiate more than others. For example, a subscriber can choose to pay more each month and get access to additional streams. However, YouTube TV is not one of those services.

At present, YouTube TV only offers one main subscription plan priced at $64.99 per month. This plan cannot be customized in any way to provide more streams. With YouTube TV, three streams is all there is, with no option to upgrade.

What if three streams are not enough?

If subscribers find that three same-time streams is just not going to cut it, there’s not a lot they can do, other than taking out a second YouTube TV subscription. With no option to upgrade and no flexibility on the number of accounts, YouTube TV does not offer any means to directly increase the number of streams.

In instances like this, consumers may find that YouTube TV is simply not the right live TV streaming service for them. Although, they also may find that switching to a competing service does not necessarily improve the situation, considering other services also place a cap on how many devices can stream at the same time.

Read more: Simultaneous Streams Comparison: Which Live TV Service Is Best?

John Finn

By John Finn

John started Streaming Clarity to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been writing about technology and TV-related services and devices since 2014 and believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingclarity.com or on Twitter

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