YouTube TV does include local channels and regional sports networks, including ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. However, their availability and the selection may vary depending on the location. While many live TV streaming services offer access to local channels and networks, the list has been shrinking recently, typically as a result of disputes or attempts to keep the costs low. With YouTube TV, however, the locals situation is a little better.
One of the benefits of live TV streaming is the ability to watch live channels that are streamed over the internet. This is even more the case with local channels, as consumers can forgo the need for any additional hardware, such as an antenna, or worry about the picture quality and consistency of the signal coming through. Instead, they can just open the app and select the local channel just like they would with the rest of the channels available to stream over the internet.
However, local channels have become an issue with live TV streaming services. Sling TV, for example, does provide access to local channels, but the list is very short, with the service opting to encourage users to use free-to-air access to make up the deficit, often even gifting cord-cutting bundles to new customers to help. With YouTube TV, there’s no such workarounds needed, although some consumers may occasionally run into issues when looking to stream their locals.
YouTube TV does have local channels
Compared to the other main live TV streaming services, YouTube TV is pretty good on local channels, and many consumers may find the service sufficiently caters to their needs.
YouTube TV local channel examples:
The list above highlights some of the local channels that are available with a YouTube TV subscription. However, it is worth keeping in mind that locals do vary and this means that while the service offers access to the likes of ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, not all users in all areas might be as lucky.
For reference, anyone considering giving YouTube TV a try can actually check which local channels they will get through the YouTube TV website before signing up. Simply scroll down on the page a little and input the ZIP code for the area the subscription will be based in. YouTube TV will then return a dedicated “Locals” section at the top of the results highlighting the exact local channels that are currently available.
YouTube TV’s Home area & local channel issues
While YouTube TV is a pretty good service for local channels overall, that’s not to say it isn’t without its issues. For starters, YouTube TV very much relies on a Home area and this will directly impact on which local channels are available to an individual subscriber or household. Due to this, it is super important that the Home area YouTube TV has on file is correct and updated when moving home. Otherwise, subscribers may find they receive the wrong local channels. Worst still, none at all.
Even with the Home area set correctly, there has still been reports from users explaining that they are receiving the wrong local channels. In most cases, this would seem to be an issue with the local channels themselves and not YouTube TV. For example, although a subscriber might expect to receive a certain local channel or network, the channel might have determined the subscriber’s location results in access to a different nearby local channel than the one expected.
This is often the result of an agreement the local channel has in place with the area more so than the actual wrong channel being delivered in the first place. In addition, when using YouTube TV while away from home, subscribers will find they are locked out of watching their usual local channels. Although they are likely to see locals relevant to the area they have traveled to, they won’t be able to record any of these channels.
Another common local channels and RSN issue that YouTube TV subscribers often encounter is blackouts. Again, this is not necessarily the result of YouTube TV, but a decision taken by the channel in question. Regardless, there are times when a YouTube TV subscriber may have access to a local channel, but find they can’t watch at specific times or for certain events due to a channel blackout. This is far more likely to be an issue encountered by those hoping to watch local live sports.
YouTube TV local channels summary
YouTube TV does have local channels with subscribers able to watch ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, among others. The exact local channel selection will vary depending on the location, but YouTube TV does make it easy enough to check which local channels will be available before signing up and having to pay. Overall, YouTube TV is one of the better live TV streaming services when it comes to locals.
While YouTube TV subscribers are provided with a good local channel experience, it is not perfect. Local channels are tied to the Home area that YouTube TV has on file, and any incorrect location data can affect access to locals. In addition, subscribers might also run into issues watching their usual local channels when traveling and during content blackouts.