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

YouTube TV is a good service for watching live TV away from home, but there are 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.

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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.

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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 zip code
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 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 Moving home
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.

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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.

YouTube TV family sharing
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.

YouTuber TV recordings
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.

Read more: How to Set Up & Manage YouTube TV Family Sharing

By John Finn

John started Streaming Clarity to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been writing about technology and TV-related services and devices since 2014 and believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingclarity.com or on Twitter

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

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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.

It does work. The user on the home network can login to YoutubeTV once every 90 days with the other accounts to keep them active.

Hi so I go to school in San Francisco and parents live near Sacramento. The Area will be registered for my parents Area code. So if they watch something every couple days I should have no problem with YouTube Tv or if we use multiple google accounts they just need to log in with my account at their place every couple of days

Why not just have one google account for the tv aspect only and log that into all the devices you want? then as long as you have one on the home network none could ever ben kicked off…

That works, but then everyone shares settings. Live channel lineup modifications affect everyone. Everyone can manage and see all recordings and DVR settings.

I live in Bay Area and that is our home area. We have a vacation house in Oregon, and I want to be able to record PBS shows from the Bay Area . I know I can’t watch them live, but how can I schedule the Bay Area recordings from the Oregon house, to watch later?

The easiest way is probably to set up the recordings while still in Bay Area. DVR is unaffected in the home area with YouTube TV, so they should continue to record as scheduled. If it’s an individual program (not a series) then there isn’t any real way to do this when away from the main home, as the channel options switch over.

with my Roku, i got the PBS app, and signed into PBS Passport, and I can log onto that PBS app wherever I am on the rook there and watch all the shows. I’m in FL now and get the MN PBS shows here

From what I’ve read, YouTube TV allows you to change your home area. I think the limit is twice per year. This is mostly for snowbirds who spend the winter in a warmer climate.

So what happens if I don’t log in from my home area? Will my channels change?

I live in Chicago and share with a friend in Detroit. If I don’t log in from Detroit, will my channels change to Chicago local? Or will I just lose all access to local channels? Honestly it would be preferable if it changed to Chicago so I can watch local sports, but it isn’t clear to me what the consequences are if you don’t log in within 90 days

If you don’t log in within the time frame, you may lose access completely on that device – until it reconnects again at “home.” Some readers have suggested this didn’t happen to them at the cut-off point, so your miles may vary, but the general idea is those devices becomes locked out of YouTube TV.

Recently added to a family account but residing in another state in subscriber’s second home. Setting up all went well but we are receiving the primary subscriber’s local channels, not our local ones. Can these channels be “localized” without disrupting the primary subscriber’s settings?

Answered my own question. Could not be done from my desktop. Had to set up app on smartphone and then reset the primary TV which then picked up the changes made on the smartphone app. A touch complex but it works.

Are you accessing on your own account? You shouldn’t be getting access to the old locals. If using a separate Google account (but linked as a family member) then you should see locals where you are.

I’m confused … let’s say my sister who lives in FL is sharing with me in PA. If the device you sign in on doesn’t matter, can’t she just periodically sign in as me on any device, say, her phone?

In principle, yes. Of course, you’ll be logging in in PA as well, so one or both of you may encounter issues if Google detects weird simultaneous activity – for example, Google may not let your sister log into your account on a device that’s not already linked to your account. But in theory, yes, the account, not the device needs to check in.

I have a home in Montana and one in California but the 90 day requirement will not work for me. Is there a way to remotely log in or do you have to physically be there to log in.

Pete,
If you are willing to leave a computer on at the home (screen off), then you can get an app that will allow you to log into that computer at will. It will be password protected on the link to the computer (separate from a Windows password) . The program should support remote boot, but a hard crash on the home computer would require someone to come to the home and do a power off and on.
When you login you just use Chrome or Firefox to bring up YTTV for the correct id.
This remote login is how a lot of people worked from home during covid (and before, it is not new tech).

If it’s the same property, then there shouldn’t be any major issues as they’ll be sharing the same ZIP etc.

So if I live in Portland, OR and my mother lives in Eugene, OR can she use it from her house or would us logging in simultaneously mess it up?

My wife is in Denver in our 2nd home and is getting our local Cincinnati stations while I’m still at home in Cincy.
How can she get the local Denver stations?

Can i watch channels in a certain zip code away from my home? If my brother lives in Green Bay and I live in FL. Can I see his channels? Could I change my home zip code to Green Bay so I can see Packer games???

Not really as the device needs to check in at that location. Google validates the device’s location to make sure it matches the ZIP manually added.

To avoid people continually changing the home location when not necessary. This is a common limitation with live TV streaming services.

What if I share with a family member in another city but the same local market (we have the same local networks)? Would that work?

I understand that if you want HBO, STARZ or other premium channels you need to pay extra. It also seems as if the history channel is not available at all. Does this still make you tube the best choice.

My sister and I are sharing YouTube tv. My location is in one city, and she lives in another. So she would have to check into my city every 90 days so her access wouldn’t become interrupted? How does she check into my home base ?

My sister has me as family member on her account and we live in different cities. If I log out on all my devices and have her log in as me on one of her devices every 90 days, will that keep me from being locked out?

Hi there. Thank you for sharing this info as it has been very informative. My question pertains to simultaneous live viewing. If I share my login with my friends and we want to watch the same live program at the same time, can we do this without one of us being kicked off or delayed? Do you know if only one person can watch a live showing and the others must watch the program on-demand or on DVR? Thank you!

Technically, you can do this. But instead of sharing your login, you’re best adding them as ‘family members’ to your account (you can remove them later if you want). Otherwise, the same account being accessed in different locations might be viewed as a security issue in Google’s eyes.

I travel for work and I find myself in a new rv park every few months with a different IP address and WiFi. I tried Hulu live and it would only allow so many switches a year. Can I maintain my YouTube tv account while traveling like I do

Not really. Same issues as Hulu will likely show up. Although depends on how often you end up back in the original location. Unlike Hulu which uses the IP address, YouTube focuses on ZIP.

I live 6 months per year in Orlando, and 6 months per year in Canada. Using a VPN service, will I be able to access YouTube TV, record, and watch Orlando content while in Canada? If so, I’ll be signing up soon!

Probably not. If using the VPN set to the same location as home, then you might see the right locals, but it will still require the check in after 90 days.

So John, two questions. First, when two seperate accounts (linked family acccounts) are running simultaneously, one in the home area and one outside, each should reflect their own local lineups and there should be no lineup conflict issues, correct? And second, is there a minimum amount of time the linked family account needs to be logged in on a home area device every 90 days? Thanks!

Hi Russell,

Complicated questions.

1. The lineups will be relevant to each family member’s account, so the traveling family member should see locals for the area they are in without conflicts. Essentially, YouTube TV treats profiles as separate subscriptions at the user level. Of course, that’s all in principle and some users have already noted to me wrong locals when traveling – so there’s no guarantee on locals.

2. There’s no specific time-frame that’s known. The emphasis in on ‘using YouTube TV’ once every 90 days, so it is at least worth commencing playback on a show, movie or tuning to a channel briefly when establishing a connection to ensure the check is validated. Especially if it’s going to cause issues otherwise.

Hope this helps.

We’ve been sharing our son’s YouTube account and all of a sudden one of our TV’s says we have to ‘pay to watch this video’. On start up it does not wait long enough for me to select ‘I’m here temporarily’. It jumps to ‘exit’ or ‘back’. If I hit ‘back’ it allow me to select ‘i’m here temporarily’ but doesn’t take. Again, only on one TV out of 4.

It appears that watching a show is all that is needed to “log in”. Is this correct? If it isn’t, would you explain what logging in is? Thanks.

It seems that the regional sports networks work a little differently. My home area is Phoenix, but I recently traveled to the SF Bay Area. While there, I found I did see the local SF network broadcasts, but I could NOT watch NBC Sports Bay Area or NBC Sports California while visiting. Those channels are included into YTTV if your home area is San Francisco.

On a chat session with YTTV support, they said that the regional sports networks travel with you, no matter where you travel to. So for example, if SF was my home, I would still see NBC Sports Bay Area if I travel to Phoenix. Does anyone have any experience to confirm this?

Unfortunately, there are no regional sports networks on the YTTV Phoenix lineup, so no way for me to test this.

Recently, YouTubeTV required me to login to my Google account to activate my services. Does that mean other users will also have to login to my Google account? Not sure I want all my family members having access to my personal google account.

My mother is trying to watch YouTube TV from her Roku but is getting a message “you are not in your home area” We have tried logging out and back in, went to tv.youtube.com/verify from her phone and verified where she is. How do we resolve this?

Hi John, If I’m in a different state than the Home Area and use a VPN to sign into the Home Area state then log into my account, would this count as “checking in”?

Can I change the number on my account to a burner phone and park the burner phone with a friend while I am out of the country?

NO…Google authenticates to your cell phone…all the websites / videos claiming VPN works are out of date.

I would like to confirm that as a “snowbird” who spends 6 months in California and 6 months in Nevada. Does this mean I can change my home location twice a year? Once in California and once in Nevada?

I have a cottage in MA and live permanently in CT. I am visiting MA and for the 1st time in 2 years, I am seeing local MA channels. I always used to see CT local channels. Am I understanding all this correctly, that if I confirm my zip code when I am in CT- then the channel line up will “go back to” CT channels the next time I visit MA?

Thank You

My daughter has been using my login info with YouTube app on her tv 300 miles away for a year 1/2. Now all of a sudden she is unable to view my local channels as she has been for a year now. What Happened?

We spend four months in NH during the summer months and cannot login at the 90 day limit in our home area of Orlando Fl. As of yesterday, we cannot access youtube tv from our present NH location. We will not be returning to Fl until the end of this month. What should we do to get access for the next month?

Our daughter goes to college 8 hours from our home in Maine. While she can use YouTubeTV at school, local content content (such as, Patriot football games) are not available for her to watch. Is there anything she can do while at school for the next 90 days to see the games? If not, this is a real bummer for YouTubeTV customers.

I know you wrote this a while ago…not sure if you’re still answering questions.

I live in CA and want to watch Cleveland Browns games (on a Cleveland CBS affiliate) on my TV.

I set my account location as Cleveland but I need to verify my location using a computer, so they know via my IP address that I’m in CA.

It seems like I only need to verify location once on my computer then the TV plays local CA stations.

Can I give my friend in Ohio my login info and have him verify location on his phone?

Hope this makes sense. Thanks in advance!

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