YouTube TV is a commercial application which allows you to stream numerous TV channels live using the internet. This is a new way of watching TV instead of conventional cable operators. Furthermore, it also features all major TV channels such as ESPN, Discovery, Fox, AMC, etc.
Despite the size and growth of YouTube as a platform, we got several cases where the YouTube TV application failed to work entirely. Either the application couldn’t play the video, it played the video in low quality, it failed to stream specific channels, it had issues with mirroring or it prompted with error messages such as Playback failed.
In this solution, we will talk about all the possible workarounds available to solve the issue and also go through the leading causes as to why this error occurs. In this article, we have listed the solutions in order regarding their complexity and usefulness. Start with the first solution and work your way down accordingly.
What causes YouTube TV not to work?
After analyzing numerous user reports and the symptoms which each user faced, we came up with a list of causes as to why this issue might occur on your computer. All of them might not be applicable in your case.
- Bad internet connection: YouTube TV requires a good internet connection which is above the average connection these days. The stream is live so automatically this increases the need for more bandwidth.
- YouTube TV is down: YouTube TV is notorious for having a lot of downtimes. Since YouTube TV is more complex and technical than normal YouTube, there are instances when the server is down or it is undergoing maintenance.
- Update available: YouTube TV prefers that you use it with the latest application available. If you don’t have the latest software, it will fail to stream.
- TV is not compatible: It seems that the YouTube TV application only works properly in newer versions of smart TVs. If you have an older version, it might not be compatible or may not work as expected.
- Specific channel issue: There are also several cases where a specific channel fails to work. This is usually a backend issue and there not nothing you can do to make the streaming work.
- Bad configurations: There are also instances when the configurations themselves are either corrupt or bad. Here relogging into the application or resetting it usually solves the problem.
- Long recordings: Some long recordings might take time to playback on your TV. This is due to the fact that long recordings are fetched from an older database of streaming. If it is not kept up to date, you will not be able to watch the recordings.
- Checking internet connection: Since YouTube TV primarily depends on the internet to work, there might be instances where it doesn’t stream because your internet connection is either bad or has configurations issue.
- Platform issue: There might also be a platform issue where the application fails to work on a specific platform. This happens a lot and usually, the platform releases an update to fix the problem.
Before move on to the solutions, make sure that your account details are backed up and your credentials should be at hand as you might be asked to re-login into the application.
Solution 1: Checking your Internet Connection
As you may expect from any other streaming platform, YouTube TV also requires a good internet connection. A ‘decent’ internet connection is a connection which allows you to stream static videos in normal YouTube. Only if you have internet connection of that level will you be able to stream without any issues or buffering again and again.
First, you should check whether your internet connection fulfills the criteria for ‘fast’. Next, you should check whether your router is working properly. If it isn’t you can perform the following steps to reset it. Both the methods for Ethernet and Wi-Fi are mentioned.
In the case of Wi-Fi
- Turn off your router and TV (or computer).
- Take out the power cable of each device. Now press and hold the power button of each device for around 4 seconds so all the energy is drained.
- Now, wait 2-3 minutes before plugging everything back in. Now start your computer again and launch the YouTube TV application. Check if the issue is resolved.
In case of an Ethernet connection
- Plug out the Ethernet wire from your TV or computer.
If the Ethernet is connected with a router, reset the router as shown in the earlier solution.
- Now turn off either device and wait for 2-3 minutes.
- Plug everything back and check if the issue is resolved.
Solution 2: Checking YouTube TV Server Status
We came across several different scenarios where YouTube TV was having a bad day from the server side. This is a very common scenario and occurs every now and then (especially on YouTube TV as it is hard to maintain as we explained before).
The only thing you can do is leave the platform for around 10-25 minutes and check back again. You can also navigate to other forums such as Reddit or DownDetector and confirm that other users are also facing the same problem. If they are, it probably means there is no problem from your side and you have no choice but to wait it out. If only you are experiencing a problem, you can wait a day or two and see if it gets fixed. There are some geographic specific issues as well.
Solution 3: Updating the YouTube TV Application
If you are using YouTube TV in the application version available for several different platforms, it is recommended that you update the application as soon as possible. YouTube TV goes into an error state or gets stuck with a bug every now and then; hence YouTube engineers release an update as soon as possible. There are chances that the issue you face is global and an update is available as its fix.
Note: Usually when an issue occurs, it takes around a day for YouTube to release an update so be patient.
Below is the method on how to update the YouTube application on Samsung TV. You can update the application according to your specific platform if its different.
- Press the Smart hub key and navigate to Featured. Here you can navigate to the directory of your applications.
- Now navigate to YouTube TV application and press and hold the Enter key until a sub-menu appears.
- Once the sub-menu pops up, click on Update apps.
- Now click on Select All.
- Now click Update all and wait for your TV to update your applications. After all the applications are updated, restart your TV and try launching YouTube TV again. Check if the issue is resolved.
Solution 4: Power cycling your TV/Chromecast/Computer
We came across several cases where the device which is used for streaming is in an error state. This often occurs in electronics and there is nothing to worry about. These platforms create temporary data and use it for their operations. If this data gets corrupt, you will have issues getting YouTube application to work.
In this case, shut the device down properly and remove all the wires from it. Next, remove the battery properly(if applicable) and detach it. Press the Power button for 1 minute. Now wait for around 2-3 minutes before plugging everything back in. When you do this, all the temporary data in the device gets deleted and new data is created with default values and gets stored at a fresh location. This will fix the issue if there was any configuration problem.
Solution 5: Relogging into your Account
Another noticeable issue which we came across was where the account fed into the YouTube TV application had corrupt data or its user configurations in a bad state. This is a very common issue and you might see situations like these in normal YouTube applications as well.
- Click on your icon present at the near top-right side of YouTube TV application.
- Once you click it, a new drop down will present itself. Now select Sign out.
- After you have signed out, perform Solution 4. Now navigate to the YouTube TV application again and there will be a sign-in prompt. Enter your credentials and check if the issue is resolved.
Solution 6: Checking Specific Model of TV/Chromecast/Roku
Another reason why you might experience YouTube TV not to work is if your TV or the device which you are trying to stream through is outdated. YouTube TV has several critical guidelines about the devices which support YouTube TV.
Since the application streams live TV just using an internet connection, there are several modules used by Google itself which are not compatible with older versions of the devices. Here, if you have an older device/TV, consider changing it accordingly.
If you have the latest TV or application available, make sure you update all the applications as explained to you earlier. If your TV is outdated, consider using Chromecast or Roku as an alternative for streaming YouTube TV. After you are absolutely sure that there is no problem with your device, only then go ahead.
Solution 7: Waiting for Long Recordings to get Accessible
YouTube long recordings take some time before they get accessible to users to stream or view. This is due to the fact that those recordings need to be processed by YouTube and saved in such a way that you can access them later on. Normally, short recordings (anything below 4 hours) are good and have no issue.
Longer recordings, however, tend to cause several different problems. Either they don’t play at all or some of part of them plays while some just straight out refuse. To circumvent this issue, you can wait the issue out. Normally, after a day or two, the videos were able to play without any issues at all.
Solution 8: Using an Alternative when a Specific Channel is not Working
When researching and gathering user responses, we came across a situation where specific channels were not able to stream on YouTube TV. This was a very common issue and occurred to major channels such as ESPN. This issue was officially acknowledged by YouTube TV itself through official channels.
According to YouTube, it was ‘investigating’ the issue but also offered a workaround so you don’t miss your shows in the meanwhile. You could download the specific channel’s application (if any) and log into the channel using your YouTube TV credentials. Here you can watch the show temporarily until it gets fixed at the backend from YouTube TV engineers.
Solution 9: Updating your YouTube TV Host Device
Another scenario which numerous users face is where their host device (for example, Chromecast, Roku, etc.) fail to stream YouTube TV. If the issue is not at YouTube’s end, it releases an official statement that the Host Device (for example Roku) knows about the outage and is working on a fix.
Here you should watch out for updates. The host devices usually release a small update which fixes the bugs. Here, we have outlined how you can update Samsung TV over the internet. If you have some other device, you can perform the steps according to the architecture there.
- Click on the Settings icon which is represented with a gear icon.
- Now click on Support (represented with a question mark) and select Software update.
- Now you can either select Auto Update so all the updates are installed the moment they are released or just click on Update Now.
After the update is installed, you should restart your host device and try to access YouTube TV again. Check if the issue is resolved.
In case you are using Roku, follow the steps below to update your software:
- Navigate to the main menu and select Settings.
- Once in Settings, navigate to the sub-option of System > System update.
- Now click on the button of Check Now. Roku will now communicate with the update servers and download all the updates onto your computer accordingly.
After the update is installed, restart your device and try accessing YouTube TV. Check if the issue is resolved.