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YouTube said to be planning 'Unplugged' live TV as soon as 2017

Though best known for user-uploaded videos, Google's YouTube is nevertheless planning to launch a live TV subscription service dubbed "Unplugged," a report said on Wednesday.




YouTube has already overhauled its backend architecture in preparation for the service, which is said to be a high priority, one source informed Bloomberg. Company executives have allegedly talked about their plans with media giants such as CBS, Viacom, NBCUniversal, 21st Century Fox, although multiple sources indicated no rights have been secured so far.

Unplugged has reportedly been in development since at least 2012, with attention to the project growing in the last few months.

YouTube has yet to settle on a way of bundling channels —one might involve a "skinny" bundle, pairing the four major U.S. broadcast networks with a small collection of cable offerings. Another option might involve Sling-like theme bundles, such as comedy. Under that model, people would have to pay one fee for a core bundle and additional money for the themed selections.

Regardless, the company is said to be aiming at keeping a main bundle under $35 per month. That would be essential for competing with rivals Sling and PlayStation Vue, which have plans starting at $20 and $30, respectively.

The soonest Unplugged could launch is sometime in 2017, one source claimed. That's in the same timeframe as Hulu, which earlier today confirmed plans for its own live TV service.

Apple could potentially debut live TV in September, but such an offering has been rumored for years, with reports regularly referring to failed negotiations with content providers.