YouTube is bringing TV shows to stream for free on its platform, without a subscription. At launch, there are over 4000 episodes of shows like Hell's Kitchen, Relic Hunter, Midsomer Murders and Sanctuary as well as classics like The Lone Ranger, Stingray and Father Ted.
The TV service is only available in the US at present and comes with ads within the episodes – just like watching regular cable TV. If you don't want the ads, some of the shows are available to buy ad-free.
YouTube already offers a full cable-replacement service for US viewers called YouTube TV, which costs from $64.99. If you want to watch in the UK or Australia, you will need a decent VPN.
The new free TV offering is accessed from the main YouTube page (rather than the YouTube TV page), under Movies and Shows. This is where it also offers movies to rent and buy. Alongside the new free TV shows, there are also over 1500 movies to watch for free – also with ads. These include titles such as Gone in Sixty Seconds, Legally Blonde, Outlander and Ronin.
The selection of free shows is filled with titles you would normally find on regular TV channels. In that regard, it's a great option for those that just want to watch something they know, and a great option for those looking to cancel their cable contract. The list of free titles is likely to grow and as long as you can sit through the ads, it's a great offering that is more likely to impact free streaming options such as Roku than premium TV subscriptions. At least for now.