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Media Streamers

YouTube TV raises price to $50, adds Discovery channels and HGTV

People billed via Apple will have to pay $55.

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David Katzmaier / CNET

YouTube TV, a live TV streaming service designed to replace a traditional cable TV package, will raise its monthly price from $40 to $50. Subscribers billed through Apple will have to pay $55.

The Google-owned service, not to be confused with the free version of YouTube, also announced that it's adding Discovery channels including Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, and MotorTrend. Oprah's OWN Network is coming later this year as well, and the service will now allow subscribers to add EPIX for an extra $6 per month. The service now offer more than 70 channels all told.

YouTube TV is one of a handful of new subscription options aimed at cable TV cord cutters who want to stream live TV channels such as ESPN, TNT and CNN, as well as local channels including ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC. Its competition includes Sling TV, Hulu with Live TV, PlayStation Vue and DirecTV Now, each with different channel packages and pricing.

The move to raise prices comes as no surprise. DirecTV Now raised its price to $50 in March, Hulu increased its live TV plan price to $45 in January and 2018 had its share of price hikes too. In explaining its price hike from $20 to $25 last year, Sling TV cited the rising cost of programming -- the money Sling has to pay content providers like Disney, which owns ESPN. YouTube TV did not explain the reason for its $10 increase in its blog post.

This is also the first such service to charge Apple subscribers more. CNET asked a YouTube representative why the price went up in general and for Apple subscribers in particular, but the rep didn't provide any additional information.

Apple takes a 30 percent share of subscription revenue made through iOS apps or iTunes, with that cut dropping to 15 percent if the app holds onto the member for subsequent years. Companies like Netflix are exploring ways to skirt the fee.

YouTube TV's official twitter feed says current subscribers will see the increase in the first billing cycle after May 13. Unlike DirecTV Now, which allows subscribers to keep the older, lower pricing if they don't cancel service, there's no so-called grandfathered pricing with YouTube TV.

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Originally published April 10, 12:50 p.m. ET.
Update, 2:41 p.m.: Adds response from YouTube TV representative.