With YouTube TV's logo emblazoned on the NBA Finals court for the Heat vs. Nuggets, you might think that was the best place for cord-cutters to watch the NBA Playoffs live streams. Unfortunately for some, that was not the case.
A series of angry tweets from YouTube TV subscribers show that the service cut out during the last minute of the NBA Finals. As you'll see below, users posted the 'rainbow bars' color testing grid pattern to report YouTube TV's feed of Game 5 briefly dying during the pivotal minute. This incident raises concerns about whether YouTube TV will be able to handle NFL Sunday Ticket, which Google is taking from DirecTV.
As someone who switched from YouTube TV to Hulu + Live TV, I feel a little relief at having dodged this bullet (as I was watching the game). Glitches like these unfortunately tend to just happen (I certainly saw them on Sling TV). These are three of the best cable TV alternatives, but the more glitches you get, the more you'll think about going elsewhere.
This issue seems to have been somewhat isolated, however, as one Tom's Guide staffer who was watching the game on YouTube TV notes he didn't see this error. The below footage (h/t @thomaschung408) is not the kind of thing anyone would want to see, though, especially when the Nuggets and Heat were separated by a mere point with less than a minute left.
Here's video footage of the glitch, which shows the feed returning during an instant replay with 24.7 seconds left in the game. At that moment, Denver's Kentavious Caldwell-Pope headed to shoot free throws, after making a huge steal that those experiencing the glitch missed live.
This history? pic.twitter.com/kRWnu0OC9tJune 13, 2023
Prior to that steal, the Nuggets had just missed, and the Heat needed to score at least one point to send the game to overtime and avoid elimination. Based on the above video and the tweet embedded below, it seems as if the feed cut out for around half of a minute.
User @scooterstakes noted that this glitch came after YouTube TV's recent price hike:
Prices keep going up with @YouTubeTV and this kind of stuff keeps happening (in the NBA finals with 45 seconds left!), glad I’m just a casual viewer.#nba #NBAFinals pic.twitter.com/YPNRmC2SeyJune 13, 2023
Analysis: Is YouTube TV ready for NFL Sunday Ticket?
A big question bought up by one user shouting at YouTube TV (replying to the service's official Twitter account) is what do these glitches mean for YouTube TV's upcoming NFL Sunday Ticket offering. @Timme_Duncan pondered "Just imagine when NFL starts & they’re trying to stream 8 games at once on this 'tv service.'"
A Tom's Guide reader writing in reminds us, though, that DirecTV wasn't a great Sunday Ticket host either. In the past, DirecTV had to refund money for its fails.
Sports blog Saturday Down South found more folks curious about YouTube TV's ability to handle Sunday Ticket, including @Herschal, who wrote "how are you planning to compensate everyone that has had multiple games throughout this NBA Playoffs cut out, stop working altogether or just not show up in the app anymore? Are you kidding me? You’re not ready for the NFL Sunday Ticket."
We still see YouTube TV as one of the top cable TV alternatives, thanks to YouTube TV's key plays and its multiview. But issues like this glitch need to be ironed out so they don't ruin other elimination moments in future NFL live streams.