You can watch YouTube TV away from home, making it ideal for those who travel frequently. However, access is not totally unrestricted and there are some caveats you will need to be aware of to ensure uninterrupted viewing.
In this guide, we’ll explain exactly what you need to know to watch YouTube TV away from home, and without having to worry about devices or accounts getting locked out. Generally speaking, YouTube TV is pretty forgiving when it comes to accessing live TV in other places, and the restrictions are certainly lighter than some of the other services, including Hulu Live TV. The main point to be aware of is what YouTube TV’s home area is and how the home are defined.
YouTube TV’s home area explained
Most live TV streaming services will ask you to confirm a home area, location or network. YouTube TV is no different, although new subscribers might be unaware this is happening. For example, Hulu Live TV specifically asks the user to confirm a network is the home network when setting up a device for the first time on a network.
In YouTube TV’s case, the confirmation comes much earlier in the process. New subscribers will most likely sign up to the live TV streaming service through the YouTube TV website. When attempting to sign up, Google will first ask the user to sign in with their Google account and if a home address is on file, Google will automatically display the city and zip code. If it is a new Google account, or one where Google doesn’t have any linked information, YouTube TV will ask “where do you live?” and explain this is to ensure you get the right local channels.
While this feature is used to determine local channels, it is also what YouTube TV uses to designate your home area going forward. From then on, subscribers have unrestricted access to the service while they are within the home area. This applies to any and all devices compatible with YouTube TV.
Accessing YouTube TV when away from home area
Where issues can arise is when accessing YouTube TV outside of the home area. Again, YouTube TV doesn’t prohibit the use, so subscribers will find they are able to stream the service when traveling, at a second home, or even if they’ve shared the login details with someone else.
However, there’s a time limit in effect here and this is what will ultimately determine whether you can use YouTube TV away from home, on a permanent basis.
YouTube TV requires accounts to log in through the home area at least once every 90 days. As long as this requirement is met, subscribers should not encounter any issues with using YouTube TV outside the home area, and irrespective of the device. The only exception to this rule is MLB fans who are required to log in through the home area once every 30 days, to ensure uninterrupted game coverage.
Can family members access YouTube TV away from home?
One of the main benefits of YouTube TV is that a single subscription can be shared with up to five other family members. However, family members are bound by the same restrictions and this is another area where some accounts might encounter an issue.
Some subscribers might assume they can share their YouTube TV subscription with family members who don’t live with them. For example, a son or daughter away at college, a brother who lives in another state, or their parents back home.
While this is technically possible, YouTube TV’s family account is designed to be for those who live in the same home. As a result, any family member a subscription is shared with, will also need to check in through the account holder’s (family manager) home area.
To explain, while YouTube TV requires a device to log in through the home area, the device itself doesn’t matter. If you have a TV in a second home in another state, but you sign in through the home area using a different TV, a mobile device, or a set-top box, the login will be successfully registered. It is the account that has to register, not the device.
It is also the accounts of family members that have to register a login through the home area as well, and every 90 days. Unless the family member comes to visit once every three months, YouTube TV is unlikely to work for those living-apart family members, on a permanent basis.
Other away from home caveats
Another issue to be aware of is that YouTube TV will determine channel and content based on both the user’s current location and their home area. This can mean some channels or content won’t be available at certain times.
For example, local channels are completely determined by the current location. When away from home, users should expect to be locked out from their usual local channels and locked in to the current location’s local channels. This can also affect nationwide channels – if there are location restrictions in place. However, it won’t impact on recordings.
When traveling, users won’t be able to DVR the local channels and content they have access to at the time, but can still record local channels and content from their home area – even though they can’t watch them live at the same time. Once those recordings have finished, they will be accessible through the cloud DVR section, along with any other recorded videos, and regardless of whether at home or away from home.
YouTube TV away from home summary
Generally speaking, there are no major issues with accessing YouTube TV away from home, and this applies to all devices. However, YouTube TV subscribers will see local channels altered when traveling, and will be required to log in through the home area once every 90 days.
In addition, home area logins are determined by the account and not the device, and this applies to all family members with each one having to manually log in through the home area every 90 days. Lastly, the information above only applies to domestic travel within the United States. YouTube TV subscribers cannot access any programs while traveling internationally.