The Essential Guide to Changing Your YouTube TV Location

Hey there! If you’re like over 5 million other cord cutters, you’ve probably subscribed to YouTube TV for convenient access to live TV without the headaches of cable.

But when you hit the road and travel outside your home area, those perks disappear as soon as you‘re blocked from watching your local live channels and teams.

Not to worry! With this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know to change your YouTube TV location.

Whether you want to catch the local news from your vacation rental or stream the big game from a friend’s house, you’ll be watching your home channels in no time.

Here’s what I’ll cover:

  • How YouTube TV pinpoints your location using geo-data
  • What’s the difference between home area and playback area
  • When you should use a VPN to watch shows on the go
  • Step-by-step instructions to update home and playback areas
  • Changing location permissions for uninterrupted streaming
  • Fixing common location issues like wrong zip code

Plus I’ll provide some pro tips I’ve picked up working in cloud data security to help you stream your favorites anywhere without geo-restrictions.

So grab your devices and let’s get started!

How YouTube TV Determins Your Location

The first thing to understand is how YouTube TV verifies your geographical location. The service needs your location for two reasons:

  1. To provide local affiliate channels like ABC, CBS, and NBC available in your viewing area.

  2. To enforce regional broadcasting blackout restrictions for live sports.

When you initially sign up for YouTube TV, you’ll be asked to enter your home zip code and service address. This registers your location in YouTube TV’s geo-database.

From then on, YouTube TV leverages a few methods to pinpoint and track your location:

  • Your home area zip code and address you provided during sign-up
  • IP geolocation which maps your IP address to a general area
  • GPS data from your streaming device if location services are enabled

According to 2021 stats, over 85% of YouTube TV subscribers are concentrated in the top 25 US metro areas like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

To cater to these urban users, YouTube TV utilizes precise location mapping to grant the right channel access.

Now let’s break down the two important location types: home area and playback area.

Home Area vs Playback Area

YouTube TV uses two location settings to determine what content you can stream:

Home Area

Your home area is the primary zip code and metropolitan region you entered when signing up for YouTube TV.

Your home area establishes:

  • Local affiliate channels – like ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox
  • Regional sports networks – local channels covering your city or state’s sports teams
  • Local on-demand programs – available from local channel streaming libraries

This is the home base location that won’t change unless you proactively update it.

Playback Area

Your playback area is your current physical location outside your home area when traveling or streaming remotely.

YouTube TV identifies your playback area using:

  • GPS data – collected from your streaming device if location services enabled
  • IP geolocation – mapping your IP address to a geographic region

With the playback area, you get temporary access to local channels available wherever you‘re located.

However, your access is limited when outside your home area:

  • You can watch but not record live TV
  • Sports blackout restrictions still apply
  • Some local on-demand content may be blocked

Now let’s review your options for streaming YouTube TV when traveling away from home.

Watching YouTube TV Outside Your Home Area

Leaving town doesn’t mean you have to miss your favorite shows or the big game. You have two options to access your home area stations from afar:

Use a VPN

A VPN (virtual private network) allows you to change your device’s IP address to match a location of your choice. I recommend VPNs in my work because it tricks geo-services into thinking you’re streaming from home.

Here’s how to configure a VPN to watch YouTube TV remotely:

  1. Sign up for a fast VPN like NordVPN or ExpressVPN. Top VPNs work consistently with streaming apps.

  2. Download the VPN app on the device you use for YouTube TV – like your smartphone, laptop, or streaming stick.

  3. Run the app, log in, and connect to a server located in your YouTube TV home area. This makes it appear like you’re still local.

  4. Launch the YouTube TV app, sign in, and enjoy your live home channels from anywhere!

The key is choosing a VPN with servers in your home region that can avoid detection by YouTube TV.

I suggest NordVPN or ExpressVPN because they provide reliable connections to bypass geo-blocks.

Update Your Playback Area

The second option is changing your playback area to match your new location. Here are the steps:

On Smart TVs:

  1. Open the YouTube TV app and select your profile icon.

  2. Choose "Settings" then go to "Area" and select "Current Playback Area".

  3. On your mobile phone, visit to confirm your location.

On Mobile and Desktop:

  1. In the YouTube TV app or website, click your profile picture.

  2. Go to “Settings” > “Area”.

  3. Next to “Current Playback Area”, tap Update.

  4. Allow your device to use location services to refresh your playback area.

This will temporarily switch your playback area to give you access to local live TV at your new spot. Just remember – your DVR recordings don’t follow you.

Next, let’s go over changing your home area zip code if you’ve moved.

Changing Your YouTube TV Home Area Zip Code

Did you permanently move to a new city or region? Then you’ll definitely want to update your home area to gain access to your new local channels.

Here are the steps to change home area on mobile and desktop:

On iPhone, iPad, or Android

  1. Open the YouTube TV app and select your profile picture.

  2. Tap "Settings" > “Area” > “Home Area”.

  3. Hit "Update" and enter your new home zip code.

  4. Tap "Verify" to confirm your new home area.

On Desktop Web Browser

  1. Login to and click your profile icon.

  2. Choose “Settings” > “Area” > “Home Area”.

  3. Click “Update” and enter your new zip code.

  4. Select “Verify” to set your new home location.

Once confirmed, YouTube TV will permanently switch your home area to your new region. Keep in mind you can only change home area twice per 365 days.

Next let’s go over updating your temporary playback area when traveling or streaming away from home.

Updating Your Playback Area on the Go

As we covered earlier, your playback area gives you temporary access to live local TV wherever you travel. YouTube TV determines this based on your device location.

But occasionally you may need to manually refresh your playback area. Here are the steps:

On iPhone, iPad, or Android

  1. In the YouTube TV app, tap your profile picture.

  2. Go to “Settings” > “Area”.

  3. Next to “Current Playback Area”, select Update.

  4. Allow the app to use your location to identify your playback area.

On Desktop Browsers

  1. On, click your profile icon.

  2. Select “Settings” > “Area”.

  3. Next to “Current Playback Area”, choose Update.

  4. Let the browser use your location to refresh playback area.

  5. You can also instantly update playback area by visiting on your phone.

And that‘s all it takes to access local channels based on the area you‘re currently in.

Now let’s look at adjusting your location permissions.

Managing Your YouTube TV Location Permissions

Your location permissions control whether YouTube TV can access your device’s location to determine where you‘re watching from.

It’s crucial to make sure location services are enabled for YouTube TV otherwise it won’t work properly when you travel.

Here are the steps to update your permissions:

On iPhone and Android

  1. Go to Settings > Applications > YouTube TV.

  2. Tap Location > switch to Always Allow.

  3. You can also enable location services at Settings > Privacy > Location Services > YouTube TV.

On Chrome, Firefox, Safari

  1. Click the padlock icon in your address bar for Site Settings.

  2. Go to Location > set “Allow” for YouTube TV website.

With permissions set to allow, YouTube TV can identify your playback area anywhere so you stay connected to local news and sports.

Now let’s go over some common YouTube TV location problems and quick fixes.

Troubleshooting YouTube TV Location Issues

Here are some frequent location issues people encounter with YouTube TV and how you can resolve them:

YouTube TV has the wrong location:

This can occur if you stream from a new device outside your home area. Just manually update your playback area following the steps I provided.

YouTube TV says you left home when you didn’t:

Your IP address may have changed or connected through a VPN. Connect a VPN to restore your home area access.

Can‘t watch local channels outside your home area:

Local channels are geo-restricted outside your home region. Use a VPN to bypass this block and watch local stations anywhere.

YouTube TV blocks your VPN connection:

Some VPNs don’t work well with YouTube TV. I suggest ExpressVPN or NordVPN as the most reliable for streaming.

Sports games are blacked out:

Regional sports networks must follow MLB, NBA, NHL blackout rules. Use a VPN that can bypass blackouts like ExpressVPN.

Error: “This program unavailable to watch in your current playback area”:

This means you‘re trying to view area-restricted content outside your home region. Connect a VPN or update playback area to gain access.

I hope these troubleshooting tips help you solve any playback issues. Just reach out if you have any other questions!

Let’s Recap the Key Steps

To quickly recap what we covered:

  • Use a VPN to remotely access your home channels and DVR recordings outside your area

  • Update playback area to watch local TV based on your current location

  • Change home area zip code if you permanently moved residences

  • Adjust location permissions so YouTube TV can precisely track where you’re streaming from

  • Troubleshoot issues like blackouts and location errors using a VPN

With the right location settings, you’ll stay connected to the news, sports, and shows you love wherever life takes you!

So whether you’re a lifelong local or a wanderlust traveler, you can enjoy your favorite YouTube TV channels from home and beyond.

I hope this comprehensive location guide helps you master your YouTube TV streaming. Let me know if you have any other questions!

Luis Masters

Written by Luis Masters

Luis Masters is a highly skilled expert in cybersecurity and data security. He possesses extensive experience and profound knowledge of the latest trends and technologies in these rapidly evolving fields. Masters is particularly renowned for his ability to develop robust security strategies and innovative solutions to protect against sophisticated cyber threats.

His expertise extends to areas such as risk management, network security, and the implementation of effective data protection measures. As a sought-after speaker and author, Masters regularly contributes valuable insights into the evolving landscape of digital security. His work plays a crucial role in helping organizations navigate the complex world of online threats and data privacy.