For the neutral NBA fan, game one of the Eastern Conference Finals last night was highly entertaining. If you were watching on YouTube TV though, the experience at the end of the game was highly frustrating. With just under five minutes left in the 4th quarter of a back-and-forth battle between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics, the streaming service had a major issue that kept viewers in a sputtering commercial loop for several minutes. Restarting the app didn't help as users were greeted with the stuttering trailer for the upcoming reboot of The Little Mermaid.
When YouTube TV finally started to chug along again, it skipped ahead every few seconds (this was captured on DVR recordings too). Users were unable to just swipe to live television either, so they just had to contend with broken up bits of action for the rest of the game. The service quickly admitted on Twitter that it was having problems, specifically referencing users trying to watch the NBA playoff game. However, the issue impacted other channels on the service too, including Bravo where Watch What Happens Live was airing after the highly anticipated Vanderpump Rules finale.
Several hours later the service's support account tweeted that everything was back to normal. The same info was posted to a support thread about the issue, but no details about a specific cause were mentioned. We've reached out to YouTube TV for more information on the problem.
Live TV streaming wasn't the only headache for YouTube last night. While that issue was unfolding, creators were having trouble uploading videos to YouTube proper, including clips for Shorts. Some experienced unusually slow processing times while others were unable to upload at all. This issue was also resolved a few hours later.
For YouTube TV, being completely unwatchable during high-profile live events is sure to leave a sour taste in subscribers' mouths. The service just increased its price by $8 a month to a whopping $73 in March. That's a little more than double the $35 monthly fee the service commanded at its 2017 launch. Streaming services as a whole have been regularly raising rates, so this isn't unique to YouTube TV. But combined with the occasional contract disputes with networks that can leave some channels unavailable — either temporarily or permanently — any issues with streaming reliability could be a major problem for the service. There's no rest for YouTube TV either as the Lakers/Nuggets series resumes tonight and there's one NBA playoff game scheduled each day until both series wrap up.