YouTube TV Not Working? Here’s What to Do.

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YouTube TV is one of the best streaming services out there, but that doesn’t mean you won’t run into issues that you’ll have to troubleshoot from time to time. As an avid YouTube TV user myself, I almost never experience problems, but the dreaded “playback error” message has popped up for me once or twice.

Here are the most common YouTube TV troubleshooting issues that you might run into while streaming:

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Streaming during the COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many of our usual routines and activities. Social distancing and quarantine have people logging into streaming services and other home entertainment services in record numbers. This has strained some internet and phone networks, so recognize that your internet bandwidth may suffer and your stream might feel slower as a result.

The most common YouTube TV issue is “playback error”

All of your YouTube TV troubleshooting struggles will likely boil down to an image saying “Playback error” with some little picture above it. Something like the image below:

YouTube TV Playback Error

Below the “Playback error,” it should say why the error is occuring. In the case above, my YouTube TV account was playing on more than three devices at a time. You’ll also see a string of numbers and letters below that indicate an error code.

Possible causes and solutions for YouTube TV playback errors

The playback error can be occurring for a number of reasons, but these are the most common issues:

  1. Bad internet connection: You need at least 5 Mbps to run YouTube TV smoothly. If your internet is down, or simply too slow, you might get a playback error message. Make sure your internet is up and running before you start streaming.
  2. Too many users: YouTube TV supports three streams at a time. If you go beyond three streams, you’ll get a playback error. This means you can’t stream on your TV, phone, laptop, and tablet all at the same time. You get three streams on three devices at a time. Be careful not to hand out your login info to too many people, or this error will pop up frequently.
  3. TV is not compatible: YouTube TV is compatible with the latest smart TVs and most streaming devices. Make sure your device is compatible here.
  4. Login verification: If you’ve recently changed the password to your account and haven’t entered into whatever device you’re using to stream, you’ll get an error message prompting you enter in the new password.
  5. Channel issue: In some cases, specific channels will be down. This isn’t an error on your end, rather it’s an issue for the specific channel. Not much you can do except wait for the channel to be back up.
  6. Location: If you are traveling, you might be geo-locked out of your normal local channels. For example, I was recently traveling to California and couldn’t get my local Utah channels.
  7. YouTube TV might be down. Not much you can do that besides wait for it to come back up.

Other recommended streaming services

YouTube TV not panning out for you? There are plenty of other streaming services out there to help you binge to your heart’s content.

Here’s a look at some of our favorite streaming services.

Best alternatives to YouTube TV
ProviderMonthly priceLearn more
Hulu + Live TV$54.99*View Plans
Sling$20$35View Plans
Netflix$8.99$15.99*View Plans
Amazon Prime Video$12.99*View Plan
Data as of 07/29/19. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* Data as of 07/29/19. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Get a different internet provider

The underlying issue with your YouTube TV stream might just be your internet connection. Your internet data speeds is the gas that makes your streaming go after all.

There’s only a few Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in most areas, so it won’t take you long to compare what you’re paying to what other ISPs in your area offer. You might be able to save some money and get a better internet connection at the same time.

Recommended internet providers
ProviderMonthly priceDownload speedsLearn more
Xfinity Internet$19.99$299.95152000 MbpsView Plans
CenturyLink Internet$49$6515940 MbpsView Plans
AT&T Internet$39.99$50^5100 MbpsView Plans
Viasat Internet$30$150°12100 MbpsView Plans
Verizon Fios$39.99$79.99**200940 MbpsView Plans
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
For the first 12 months. Some packages require a 1- or 2-year contract.
New customers only. Rate requires paperless billing and excludes taxes. Additional fees apply.
^ For the first 12 months with a 1-year agreement.
° For the first 3 months.
** w/Auto Pay + taxes. Equipment charges may apply.

Enter your ZIP code below to find out what internet options you’ve got in your area.

Find the best Internet Providers in your area.

What YouTube TV issues are you experiencing?

More than likely, your YouTube TV issues will stem from either internet connection issues, having too many users logged in at once, or not having a compatible device. If you check all of those boxes, then you shouldn’t have any issue streaming on YouTube TV.

But on the off chance you’re experiencing a YouTube TV error that isn’t explained here, please leave a comment below and we can get to researching.