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You Can Watch YouTube TV Away from Home (With Caveats)

YouTube TV is a pretty good service for watching live TV away from home. However, there are still some things to be aware of.

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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 YouTube TV’s home area.

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.

YouTube TV location
When signing up, YouTube TV sets your home area

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 within the home area. This includes on 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 access 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 two homes
Watching on two homes is allowed but with caveats

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.

TV family account
Family members face same limitations

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.

YouTube TV recordings library
Locals and library could be affected

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.

John Finn

By John Finn

John is the founder of Streaming Clarity and has been writing about smartphones and TV-related services and devices since 2014. John streams everything and genuinely believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between streaming services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingclarity.com or on Twitter

4 replies on “You Can Watch YouTube TV Away from Home (With Caveats)”

So, if we subscribe to youtube tv in nebraska via a roku stick…we can access our youtube tv account at our 2nd home in AZ over the winter, thru a different roku stick? This will not require 2 youtube accounts? And we will receive local channels in NE, when in NE and local channels for AZ when in AZ?
1 account, 1 monthly payment, 2 locations when we are physically in whichever state at the time?
Is there a restriction as to how many times we are allowed to travel between the 2 states a year? And how many days the service must be on at each location?

Hi Susie,

Yes, in principle, your situation should be fine and you won’t require two separate YouTube TV accounts. However, that’s as long as the account ‘checks in’ with the home network once every ninety days. As long as you are not away longer than three months at a time, there shouldn’t be an issue. The different device does not make any difference.

Again, there’s no restriction on how many times you can travel, it is just the account needs to be accessed at home once every three months.

And yes, you will see local programs/channels depending on whether in NE or AZ.

Hope that helps,
John.

So by “checking in” couldn’t I just sign into their Gmail on my computer in the home network? For example if I live on the east coast and my parents live in the Midwest, can I log into my mom’s email on my computer at my house and that counts as “checking in”?

Hi Jennifer,

Haven’t checked this personally, but it might work if you use their credentials to log into YouTube TV (not into their email account). Of course, you won’t know if it works until the three months have expired, but let us know if you try and if it works.

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