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YouTube TV: How to Change Home Area & What to Know Before You Do

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Updated: January 21st, 2021 at 10:01 pm

Changing a YouTube TV Home area is fairly easier to do, although there are limitations, including how many times it can be changed in a given year. In addition, there are also consequences to changing the YouTube TV Home location, including what channels a subscriber has access to

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YouTube TV operates on the basis of a clearly defined local area. This allows the company to offer an experience tailored to the user. The clearest example of a benefit of a designated Home area is local channels. Without YouTube TV identifying and defining a Home area, subscribers would not be able to access the right local channels and networks.

When a Home area matters

YouTube is fairly generous in what it offers subscribers looking to access YouTube TV away from home. As a result, subscribers don’t generally need to worry too much about a designated Home area when traveling abroad, spending time at another location, or just consuming live TV on a mobile device while elsewhere.

YouTube TV when traveling.
YouTube TV accommodates frequent travelers

However, there are going to be times when YouTube TV subscribers need to deal with the Home area. One of the most common scenarios will be when moving home. Each time a subscriber relocates, they will need to update their home location to ensure uninterrupted access to YouTube TV, and to guarantee they receive the correct local channels.

Another instance where the Home area will come into play is for those who often spend long periods of time between two different homes. As YouTube TV operates on a Home area basis, this means that subscribers cannot assign two different homes at the same time. Instead, they will need to pick one as the actual Home area and access the service in the second location on an away from home basis.

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How To Change YouTube TV’s Home area

The physical act of actually updating a subscriber’s current Home area can be done by visiting the YouTube TV website and updating the location in the user profile section.

How to update YouTube TV Home area:

  1. Open YouTube TV
  2. Click on profile picture
  3. Select Settings
  4. Click on Area
  5. Select Home area.
  6. Click on “Update” beside “Home area”
  7. Update the location

While the instructions above are relevant to accessing the YouTube TV website, Android device owners are also able to make the change through the app. The instructions are the same with users needing to access the profile section, followed by settings, selecting Area, Home area, and then updating the location.

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In contrast, iPhone and iPad users are currently unable to change their location directly within the iOS YouTube TV app. Instead, iOS users will need to update a Home area by accessing the website through a desktop or mobile browser, and then following the navigation instructions above.

YouTube TV Home area change restrictions

Although updating the Home area is easy enough, there are some clear limitations in place that a subscriber should be aware of before actually making the change. The first and most relevant is the number of times a user can change their Home area to begin with.

YouTube TV locals
YouTube TV uses ZIP code to determine location

YouTube TV only allows subscribers to change their Home area twice within a twelve-month period. While many subscribers are unlikely to move more than twice in a given year, this can pose problems for some subscribers. For example, anyone who spends a significant period of time at two different addresses will find that the option to change the Home area is limiting.

To put this limitation into perspective, Hulu Live TV is a direct competitor to YouTube TV and offers its subscribers the option to change the Home area up to four times per year. In this sense, Hulu Live TV is likely to be a more suitable option for those who find YouTube TV’s Home area restrictions too severe. However, Hulu Live TV has its own away from home limitations.

A second Home area limitation relates to the process of actually updating the location. YouTube TV only allows subscribers to update their location at the new location. For example, if a user plans to move and tries to update their Home area manually to the new location before moving, they will find the system prohibits them from doing this. Instead, YouTube TV will only allow the user to update their profile while accessing the website at the new location.

YouTube TV location
YouTube TV Home area can affect multiple home owners

While not a limitation itself, it is worth knowing that with the service using the Home area to determine local channels, and limiting the number of times the Home area can be updated each year, those who travel often between homes will find access to local channels can be affected.

For example, when spending extended periods elsewhere, users will find they are locked into local channels for their current area, and can’t access local channels for their home location, even though the account is tied to that area.

YouTube TV Home area summary

YouTube TV has proven to be a good solution for many seeking a live TV streaming option. One of the reasons for this is the service’s generous approach to features and benefits. However, YouTube TV’s Home area is not quite as generous as its cloud DVR or other features.

One of the reasons that YouTube TV has taken a stricter stance against how many times a user can change their Home area is likely to be the service’s general away from home policy, considering subscribers can spend up to ninety days away from their designated Home area before needing to check in or make the Home area change.

As a result, when viewing both the away from home and the Home area policies together, YouTube TV does offer a sufficient balance to accommodate most subscribers. In spite of this, some subscribers will still find the option to only change their Home area twice each year too limiting. For them, it might be worth looking at an alternative to YouTube TV.

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John Finn

By John Finn

John started Streaming Better 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@streamingbetter.com or on Twitter

38 replies on “YouTube TV: How to Change Home Area & What to Know Before You Do”

I updated my locall area from NC to Detroit, but I’m not getting the local FoxSports Detroit on my channel listing after the setting was changed. What should I do?

Hi Rik,

It is possible that the Detroit local is not available through YouTube TV, even if the NC local was available. You should be able to check and confirm what locals you should be getting by using the Detroit ZIP code on the YT TV website.

Hi Lawrence,

That shouldn’t happen, especially if the billing is set to the correct home address. In case it does, you should be able to reset it again by logging in from the right home area.

These steps do not appear:
4 Click on Area
5 Select Home area.
6 Click on “Update” beside “Home area”
7 Update the location

Just changed my Home Area. Said I lived in Memphis but I live in Arkansas. With your help I changed it. Thanks So Much.

I cannot change my home area if I go to settings and click on area then it says change home area I can click on that and it goes to next and it says allow us to obtain permission so then I click on next but it’s frozen and won’t let me go any further.

Hi John. Happy Thanksgiving. We love youtubetv – but we’re away from home longer ten 90 days multiple times a year. My question: can I have my son access youtubetv from my home while we are away – and will this reset my 90 day window? Thanks in advance.

I’ve searched everywhere and can’t find the definition of “home area” for youtube. Not even on their website. Everyone just refers to it. Is it mapped to a specific network (like Hulu does), a specific zip code (as it is the case they ask when you register your home area), and do they use a specific zip code to define the home area, or just use the zip code to determine the broadcast service area (which is a larger location than a specific zip code itself). I’m really trying to determine 1) if I move down the street, to a slightly different zip code, if there is any major change, and 2) if I setup devices for when i visit my mother a few miles away and leave devices there for me to watch whether I need to bring them back home every 90 days to reauthenticate them to the “home area” or not. Again, can’t find any of these details in any articles, they are all high level.

I have YouTube tv and live in Reno, Nevada. I would like to use the San Francisco Bay area code. Is that possible?

I have YouTube tv on Roku. My home base is AZ but current viewing area is Chicago as we are visiting relatives for the holidays. When we try to view an Arizona recording the program always starts 1/2 hour into the program. How can we correct this?

My permanent residence is in the Boston Area. I have a condo in Florida. I visit that Condo probably 8-10 times between November and April. I also have a place in Maine which I visit most every weekend between May and November and stay entire weeks 3 or 4 times during that season. I’d like to be able to change my local area to where ever I am staying. If I cannot change the local area that many times, I guess I just have to pick one and watch the content at all three locations. I’m on my two week trial so I guess we will se hwo it goes.

Youtube home area restrictions suck. I’m going back to my cable company where they let me see both Philly and NY stations without designating me to one or the other based on zip, since I live on the border.

I have the same issue. I live in NJ, work in Manhattan and am given Philly news rather than NY news which is more relevant to me. Such a shame that I’ll probably have to move back to Xfinity because of this

We live in NYC and in southeast CT. We travel back and forth biweekly. We want to see local channels in each area for weather and local news.
We have Spectrum in NYC as well as our Youtube TV that has CT as home base. The problem is the cost. Spectrum keeps raising prices and I want to drop the service. I wish Youtube TV would allow two locations .

WE have homes in both Iowa and Arizona. We leave Iowa in October,to stay in AZ until THanksgiving and then we return to Iowa for Thanksgiving through New Year’s DAy and then we return to AZ until the 1st of May. This results in 4 location changes per year. Is there a way we can make this work with YouTube TV?

Why would YouTubeTV change my local channels without my requesting to do so or without me moving? I am supposed to be on Myrtle Beach/Florence, SC local channels and all of a sudden, I am on Columbia, SC channels. Weird thing, though, some tv shows still record on the Myrtle Beach stations, but i cannot get my local news.

Same thing has just happened to me. Our home area falls under New Orleans, LA. All the sudden, we started getting local stations out of Baton Rouge, LA on YouTube TV & I noticed under current playback location, it lists Baton Rouge. We have never ever messed with or changed our locations. I contacted YouTube TV support & they were absolutely NO help. We have Spectrum WiFi. I’ve tried resetting my router, doing everything Google says to do to change the playback location & nothing works. Does anyone know how to correct this?

I’m having the same issue. All the sudden my local news channels are coming from outside of my home area. I didn’t mess with my home area or playback area. It had to be YouTube TV, but when I contacted Customer Service, I got absolutely no where. How can you change your playback location to match your home location? I’ve tried EVERYTHING that Google says to do plus rebooted my router & modem & my Roku streaming sticks & power to our TV’s & nothing works. I sign in to my account online & my playback area is listed as Unknown, which is different than on our TV’s, & it tells me YouTube TV can’t find my location even though all my location settings are turned on. Does anyone know how to fix this issue especially since YouTube TV didn’t know what to do or didn’t want to bother & finally disconnected me.

Same problem as KIM above. My home area is correct but my local news channels also are coming from outside of my home area. I didn’t change with my home area or playback area. My playback area should be deleted. It is wrong anyways. There is no way to clear playback area.
How do I call Youtube TV? There is no call number. This kind of automated support is terrible. No support at all. It takes a live person to fix some issues and their AI programming sucks.

We had this problem too & tried all kinds of fixes but they didn’t work. Unplugged everything including router & it fixed it.

We live in Kansas one mile from the Nebraska-Kansas state line. We have a Nebraska phone number and a Kansas address. Our local channels flip-flop from Kansas locals to Nebraska locals several times a week. We aren’t changing anything. It’s a joke in our house now when we switch to local channels as to which one we will get.

I’m about 2 miles from our home and can’t get local channels on youtube tv via app on my phone or using a pc. Is that normal? I’ve tried all the set/verify local area suggestions that youtrube tv suggests.

What do people do with kids in college? We are paying for a huge package and my oldest used to be able to view now she cannot get into anything? These resections don’t make sense fully and there needs to be an option for this need. No reason to pay the large amount for only husband and I when neither of my college kids can access while in school.

Did not know about the 2 time limit on Home Area. Moved to [removed] from [removed]. Been getting notices that my service will be limited if I do not change my Home Area, but they will not allow me to change my Area due to the 2 times limit. Do I have to cancel my service and sign up again?

I’m new to this streaming thing. I have two homes and like a lot of people, I’m getting tired of two cable bills—one house in Chicagoland and the other in upper Wisconsin. My home base would be Chicago. I have android based TVs in both locations. When going to Wis do I have to sign out of my Youtube account in Chicago before trying to sign in to Wisconsin. It’s 400 miles that’s why I’m asking. I’d hate to go all that way and find out I had to sign out. It’s just my wife and me so there are only the two of us. Can I use the same login at both places? Just trying to get a handle on this before I sign up. We go up there 4 times a year for 3 to 4 weeks at a time. From what I’m reading I don’t think I have to change my home base for this?
Thanks, Mike

I have been trying everything I can think of to (a) get a hold of YouTubeTV (good luck with that!), (b) change my home location, with no results. I see from these messages that the problem is wide-spread. My home location has changed local programming from one city to another in Western New York without any notice and I cannot find a way to change it back to the local channels I want. It seems that if YouTubeTV wants to keep its customers, this needs to be addressed. I did not know about Hulu’s service to provide local programming. I will definitely be checking it out.

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