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

YouTube TV
4.5 out of 5 stars
  • pro
    Unlimited DVR storage space
  • pro
    Offers all major sports channels
  • con
    Doesn't have the Tennis or HISTORY channels
Tyler Abbott
Jan 11, 2023
bullet3 min read

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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:

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 occurring. 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. YouTube TV 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 possible problems

In recent weeks and months, users have reported a host of other problems with YouTube TV, but the good news (especially since we really like this service) is that most of them are not insurmountable. In fact, what we've found is that many of the initial problems were caused by YouTube TV itself not working during the initial launch. Recently, the problems are due to compatibility.

One of the first things to do if you are experiencing any YouTube TV problems is to check the compatibility site. For example, if you are trying to use YouTube TV on an older Apple TV device, the compatibility site makes it clear you do need to use the fourth-generation version that supports 4K. You'll also want to investigate whether there might be an issue with your Internet connection, your router, your smart television...meaning, the problem might be something with your own devices, settings, or connection.

What if you are trying to use a VPN to access the service? Well, the truth is that it depends on the VPN. We recommend using a VPN that stays up to date and works reliably and to make sure you avoid a lower-end VPN that might cause issues.

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.

If cable or satellite TV is your thing, our review of the best TV service providers can help you decide what provider fits for you.

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

Best alternatives to YouTube TV
Available channels
Monthly price
Learn more
Fubo TV$32.99-$94.99
Directv stream correct logo (2023)$69.99-$159.99*
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* Plus taxes. Req's purchase of Device. New customers only.
Channel or add-on
Monthly price
Compatible device and internet connection required. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Not all products, pricing and services available in all areas. Restrictions apply.

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. Providers like Viasat and AT&T have large data caps great for streaming.

Recommended internet providers
Monthly price
Download speeds
Learn more
XfinityXfinity Internet$19.99-$120^75-2000 Mbps
CenturylinkCenturyLink Internet$50-$75°100-940 Mbps
ATTAT&T Fiber$55-$250**300-5000 Mbps
ViasatViasat Internet$69.99-$299.99††12-100 Mbps
VerizonVerizon Fios Home Internet$49.99-$89.99‡‡300-2300 Mbps
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
^ Pricing for some packages are for the first 12 months. Some packages require a 1- or 2-year contract.
° Speed may not be available in your area. Paperless billing or prepay required. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply.
** Price after $5/mo Autopay & Paperless bill discount (w/in 2 bills). Plus taxes $ fees. Limited availability. May not be available in your area.
†† Offer available to new qualifying customers. One-time standard installation fee may be due at checkout. Minimum 24-month service term required. Equipment lease fee is $12.99/mo. Taxes apply. Service is not available in all areas. Offer may be changed or withdrawn at any time.
‡‡ Price per month with Auto Pay & without select 5G mobile plans. Fios plan prices include taxes & fees

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.

Tyler Abbott
Written by
Tyler Abbott
Tyler has been obsessed with watching sports as efficiently as possible since the creation of the DVR. He is always on the lookout for the best tech in TV and wireless so he can watch all the sports and still have enough time to hang out with his baby. He has written about streaming, wireless, and TV for over three years. He hopes the Lakers will eventually get better.

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