YouTube TV is getting 4K streaming and offline downloads to fight Hulu and Sling

YouTube TV readying 4K and offline downloads to fight Hulu and Sling
(Image credit: YouTube TV)

YouTube TV is just one of the many streaming services to raise its prices in 2020. And It looks like 2021 will see the service give users more reason to spend more money.

According to a new report, the service looks to be on the verge of beating key competitors Hulu with Live TV and Sling TV to 4K streaming. And that's not the only big new feature coming to the streaming service.

In an interview with Fast Company, YouTube product chief Neal Mohan noted that 4K streaming will be one of several features in an upcoming add-on package for the service, alongside an unlimited simultaneous streams cap and the ability to save video to your device for offline viewing. 

When will this add-on come? How much will it cost? Mohan didn't provide those details. But he noted that YouTube TV is trying to stay ahead of the competition in other ways, noting that audiences have "come to expect YouTube TV to be the pioneer in terms of product innovation, so that’s what my team’s focused on."

Of these features, 4K may be the most alluring, but there's a catch: it relies on having live TV that's available in 4K. Audiences couldn't watch the Super Bowl in 4K this year, and that's the biggest sports event in the country. 

You can see this issue in action with Fubo TV, which has 4K only for select events and it's currently in beta. Looking at its schedule for upcoming 4K streams, audiences will get crisper picture quality for NCAA Men's Basketball's Big East Tournament and select NASCAR events.

The most interesting feature to us is the unlimited cap for simultaneous streams. One assumes YouTube TV is developing anti-piracy tools to ensure this feature isn't abused. It's not difficult to imagine a swarm of friends all sharing the same account.

As for offline viewing? Well, once we get to spend more time out of the house and on the go, that should definitely prove useful. We could imagine saving shows for our commutes once we're going back to the offices.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.