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Step Aside, Hulu Live and Sling TV: YouTube TV Blasts Past 5 Million Subscribers

Five years after its inception, YouTube TV is winning the live TV streaming game.

YouTube TV logo on a phone
YouTube TV launched five years ago. 
Sarah Tew/CNET

YouTube TV is leading in the live TV streaming market. The platform announced on Tuesday that it eclipsed 5 million subscribers, including paying members and free trials.

YouTube TV's number of subscribers beats the 4.1 million subscribers of rival Hulu Live as of April 2. Other competitors include Dish Network-owned Sling TV, which was at 2.25 million members at the end of March, and FuboTV, which has around 1.06 million subscribers. 

The live-television streaming market surged about eight years ago, but has since struggled with sluggish growth. Live-channel services like YouTube TV were once seen as the natural successor to expensive cable and satellite subscriptions for cord-cutters. But TV customers have instead gravitated to cheaper, on-demand streaming services like Netflix, Disney Plus and HBO Max, while most live-channel services have only grown more expensive. 

Read more: Best Live TV Streaming Service for Cord-Cutters in 2022

YouTube, which is owned by Google, launched its live TV platform five years ago, and it's now available with 100-plus channels, unlimited cloud DVR space, Spanish language content and a family plan. Prices start at $65 per month, with $10 off for your first three months.

YouTube TV is CNET's Editors' Choice for best premium live TV streaming service. In his YouTube TV review, Ty Pendlebury says, "While it has almost doubled in price since [launch], it continues to be a better choice than any of its premium competitors."

Along with the 5 million subscriber announcement came a Top 5 list of the most DVR'd shows on the platform:

  1. Yellowstone
  2. Saturday Night Live
  3. This Is Us
  4. 60 Minutes
  5. Grey's Anatomy

The announcement also included a Top 5 of the series "viewers are nostalgic for":

  1. Friends
  2. The Office
  3. Two and a Half Men
  4. Big Bang Theory
  5. Everybody Loves Raymond

For tips on which live TV streaming service is right for you, here's a comparison of YouTube TV and Sling TV