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

Plan
Price
TV channel count
Details
YouTubeTV$64.99*85+
Data as of 11/11/21. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* Compatible device and internet connection required. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Tyler Abbott
Staff Writer, Mobile & Wireless
Read More
Published on December 16, 2020
3 min read

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. 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.

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

Best alternatives to YouTube TV
Provider
Monthly price
Learn more
Hulu + Live TV$64.99$70.99
Sling$35$50
Netflix$8.99$17.99
Amazon Prime Video$12.99
Data as of 11/11/21. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Data as of 11/11/21. 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
Provider
Monthly price
Download speeds
Learn more
Xfinity Internet$19.99$94.99501200 Mbps
CenturyLink Internet$50$65^100940 Mbps
AT&T Internet$45°75100 Mbps
Viasat Internet$30$169.99**12100 Mbps
Verizon Fios Home Internet††
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 plus taxes and equip. fee.
** 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.

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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  • Jodie Madison

    You Tube TV was working fine on 2 tv’s in the house. Now one of them continues to have Error 16.
    What’s the fix for this?

    • Jeff Schmitz

      We have the same issue….especially with library items, Unfortunately I don’t know a fix either

    • Amber Martin WadsworthTillman

      Same problem!

  • Troy N Amy Studebaker

    Sometimes when I am trying to load a channel
    It won’t load and I have to back out of the Roku & start over sometimes I have to do it 3 times before it starts. Any suggestions I am on Fibre & directly connected to router not WiFi.

  • Larry Gilpin

    To all help associates,

    I just got Youtube TV and it works great “with the exception being Live TV channels. It works on all devices, Iphone, Ipad, Computer, etc, including on my non-smart Westinghouse 48” TV, however, this is where I’m having trouble.I do not yet have a streaming device (roku, apple TV etc), so until I get one of these devices, I want to make sure that I shouldn’t have issues once I get one.
    I am running a HDMI Cord to a Lightning connection to my phone, and have had no issues what so ever watching regular YouTube, or any other thing I want to watch. However, when I click on a live station to watch a live show, it locks up, like it is trying to buffer, but that is as far as it will go. I can hear the channel playing on the TV, I can see the channel I’m trying to watch on my Iphone, but it just will not open the live event on the TV. I have tried every single way that I have been told by the troubleshooting Technicians, I’ve been told to shut the internet for a minute, then turn it back on, They had me also shut down my Iphone and Ipad and turn it on after a minute to see if the was the problem, but it didn’t fix it, it’s still freezing when I try to watch live TV. Please Help, we are trying to decide whether or not we will keep YouTube TV. If I can get this issue corrected, I’m pretty sure we will keep YouTube TV, Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.

    Respecfully,

    Lawrence Gilpin

  • Jeff Schmitz

    We’re having a lot of issues with “playback error” recently and strangely enough it works fine on the other TV. There’s never more than one or 2 Youtube TV running and we have plenty of bandwith so this error messages are more frequent now and frustrating. Might have to get rid of Youtube TV…no customer service either.

  • spinmonkey

    My youtube tv video quality has been consistent and clear since signing up. However, last week (after 25 May), it started defaulting to 144p. Setting it to any other pixel quality causes constant buffering issues, making any show unwatchable. Also, after changing video quality, it will reset back to 144p if I change channels or shows. My wifi is extremely strong (866.7 Mbps) and my internet upload (11.6Mbps), download (115.38 Mbps) and ping (9ms) speeds are excellent (according to my Nighthawk Speedtest).

  • anthony woodworth

    I just signed up for FiOS in the YouTube TV promotion and every time I go to sign up for it it says I have an active subscription and I can’t I need to use another email make a new one I have made over 35 accounts and it still will not let me log in so the same thing even with a brand new account you have an active subscription if you can’t login

  • Terri Kreth

    has been working great until now. I get “network disconnected” but when i check network settings, i am connected but it won’t open the home button

  • Sheri Baker-Rickman

    YouTubeTV was working fine, then I got notified that rates were going up and they were adding channels. Ever since then, I get constant feedback errors. I don’t have it on too many devices. I have a good Internet connection too. I know it’s YouTubeTV because I have a FireStick and my other apps work just fine. Only YouTubeTV won’t load. I’m very disappointed in this change in service. I’m considering dumping it and going with something else.

  • Stan Sadowski

    What does playback error 8 means .
    What needs to be changef

  • Dayton Mast

    I AM GETTING AN ERROR MESSAGE 16:ZM5P 84MV 9YC8. MY YOUTUBETV IS WORKING UPSTAIRS BUT NOT ON THE TV DOWNSTAIRS. IT WAS WORKING BEFORE. WHAT DO I DO?

  • Ellen Nolan

    I have YouTube TV on 6 tvs. One one of them, YouTube is locked. I have unplugged my Fire Stick, unplugged and replugged everything and I still keep getting the same thing when I try to turn it on. Free YouTube Trial enter code. I even tried that on my Google account and I don’t need another free trial. Help

  • freakydeaky

    Channels keep saying “no info available”

  • Duncan Essex

    WARNING: Sports items (like NFL, Formula 1, etc.) seem to have a limit of 15 recorded items. So when they push 9 useless 2 minute game summaries from NFL NETWORK into the NFL recordings, you can no longer access last week’s full game DVR recordings. I don’t subscribe to any teams – I only subscribe to games on CBS, FOX, Sunday Night, Monday Night and Thursday Night, yet they spammed me with 9 VOD items from NFL NETWORK. USELESS.

  • Lisa capozziello

    YouTube tv is not loading on my tv’s. I have updated my router and increased my WiFi. It loads immediately on my tablet and phone.
    I am wondering if it because of our roku’s.

  • Stephanie DiRocco

    We’ve been streaming utubetv since March and its been great. Today however I can see my live TV guide, all shows in my library but when I select to watch any of it, it just says loading and then goes black or a second of the movie begins and then goes back to loading and won’t play. All other streaming apps are working fine and because I am able to see the guide and shows that have been DVR’d I don’t believe it is a connection problem?

  • Chris Aiyer

    YouTube TV says “can’t connect right now”. The retry option does not work, network settings say my it is connected, but no internet. All my streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime all work fine.
    I can still login to my computer on the same internet network and watch YouTibe TV on my laptop.

    Any suggestions/thoughts?

    Thanks!

  • Amanda

    I have added family to family group for youtube tv. They accept via emails. When they try to log in, they get logged in but all content is locked. I go to manage family settings and it shows invites haven’t been accepted but then go to their emails and click invite again and it shows already in a family group. So fed up because the 6 person access is the only reason I joined youtube TV. Any help appreciated.

  • Geri Arnold

    After selecting the channel my screen goes black and I get nothing can anyone help me out thanks