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YouTube TV Local Channels Not Working: Common Issues & Fixes

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YouTube TV subscribers may occasionally encounter an issue where they can’t access one or more of their local channels. There are a number of different reasons as to why this might be happening so there is unlikely to be one fix for all subscribers and situations. However, a few simple checks of some of the more common issues can help to identify the problem and potentially the fix.

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YouTube TV provides access to a varied channel lineup which includes a mixture of news, entertainment and sports. In addition to the standard channel lineup, YouTube TV also offers access to some local channels. The exact locals an individual or household gets access to does depend on the location, and this location-based approach is often what causes an issue when a local channel is not working correctly.

If unable to watch a local channel through YouTube TV then one of the first common problems to check is the actual home location. Like most other live TV streaming services, YouTube TV relies on a home area to determine various elements of the experience, including the local channels a user has access to. If a local channel isn’t working, or the subscriber is receiving the wrong local channel, it could be a result of an incorrect home area setting.

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Thankfully, it is easy enough to check the home area and make sure it is set to the right location. If set to the wrong location, the subscriber can change their home area through the settings menu after logging in to the YouTube TV website. If the location setting is currently causing the problem, users should find that they have access to their local channels again after changing to the right home area.

Other issues and potential fixes

If the location setting is not the problem, another common issue, which is also related to location settings, is the device’s location services. Many devices have their own location-based settings section in the main settings menu. Depending on the device, these settings may need to be manually enabled for an app like YouTube TV to be able to identify the user’s correct location. Again, as these location settings can vary from device to device, the user may need to look through the main settings to find them. In many cases, they will be listed as ‘Location Services’ in a ‘Privacy’ section of the settings menu. Checking and enabling the necessary permissions, if currently disabled, may help to fix any issues with accessing local channels on a particular device.

Another common issue is the physical location of the subscriber. More specifically, the physical location of the device. Although a subscriber may have set up the right home area and enabled location services on their device, YouTube TV only allows subscribers to watch local channels when physically located within their home area. Technically, YouTube TV allows subscribers to watch local channels when away from home, but these won’t be the subscriber’s normal ‘home’ local channels. In these situations, there’s not a lot the subscriber can do to fix the problem. While it is possible to change the home area to match the new one, this still won’t result in access to the home-based local channels. Not to mention, changes to the home area cannot be made from outside the existing home area.

If none of the common issues above apply, the problem might simply be with YouTube TV. It is also possible that the local channel is currently experiencing a blackout, and this is particularly likely when it comes to live sports. In both of these situations there is no real fix other than waiting for YouTube TV to fix the problem or the blackout to end. However, if it is a problem with YouTube TV, the subscriber will likely see a ‘this program is unavailable’ message on the screen. Likewise, if it is a scheduled blackout by the channel owner, subscribers will likely see a similar message/icon confirming the problem is temporary and intentional.

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Local channels not working summary

YouTube TV is a fairly reliable service but there are times when issues can arise. One of which could be an inability to watch local channels. Although YouTube TV does provide access to locals, various factors can affect when they are available to watch. The most common issues all tend to be related to location. For example, the home area not being defined correctly, the location services on a device not enabled, or the device is attempting to stream outside the home area.

In some cases, it is also possible that the channel is experiencing a scheduled blackout or that YouTube TV is experiencing a general network issue. While narrowing down these common issues can often help to determine why a local channel might not be working, whether the issue can be fixed will depend on which problem a YouTube TV subscriber is currently experiencing.

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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

2 replies on “YouTube TV Local Channels Not Working: Common Issues & Fixes”

My parents recently got You Tube TV and they have to keep setting the location to get their local channels. Any solution to this problem. They are elderly and do not use it anywhere except on their TV at home.

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