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YouTube TV and VPNs, and alternatives


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I've heard tell of at least one gringo expat in these parts accessing YouTube TV over a VPN service. I don't remember where I read it, maybe here, but I can't find it again.

First off, I'm a YTTV subscriber in the States since Day One, and I'd gladly pay to use it in Mexico too, but that's not on offer. I believe it's the same story with competitors like Sling.

I'm also surprised it works for this fellow, because

  1. Google (YTTV) is scrupulous about geo restrictions, even in the States. If I forget and start YTTV when using a VPN tunnel, YTTV notices.
     
  2. VPN services brag about their multiple servers, but their GeoIP data goes stale faster than they can get fresh IPs.

    If I choose a server location that's within my TV market, YTTV might start out not complaining, then decide I'm traveling in Memphis or something, and later decide "VPN Detected." You can see what's happening here.

I realize these boards are publicly indexed, so I'd much appreciate a PM if someone has YTTV working. It would be useful and interesting.

We're not attached to much U.S. programming, and of course I can get my hands on most things easily, but that's the problem: I have to do it. I need something straightforward enough for Joan to use by herself. The Real Housewives of San Antonio Tlayacapán are not (yet) the Housewives she's addicted to.

The other, related problem is topical content, stuff that's no longer interesting tomorrow or the next day. I've got sports mostly covered via paid apps (MLB, NBA), though it's strange to have DVR-ed Chivas matches at my fingertips in the States, but not here.

I'm almost resigned to a Kodi-like setup, and definitely have the chops and gear (big NAS, spare computers, etc.), but don't want to run something elaborate unless I need to.

Amazon Firestick+VPN is the popular refrain, but it doesn't work for me.

Any tips appreciated. Thanks!

LQ

 

Edited by Lou Quillio
typo
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We have used Kodi with add ons  for almost 3 years.  We use RealDebrid for VPN.   We get all the current movies and tv shows from around the world that could possibly want, for free (except every 6 months nominal RealDebrid fee).  

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We use Strong VPN and they have been very successful and reliable about getting around blocking.

Other than for "how to do or fix stuff" videos I don't use UTube because they censor points of view that are not of the (you know which) narrative.

 

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In lieu of YTTV, have you considered USTVNow?  No VPN required.  Channel line-ups on offer are not near as extensive as YTTV, though I think they can easily suffice for a casual-use, live TV viewer.  Subscription plans are significantly more affordable than YTTV.  And I see that the Bravo network for the Real Housewives addicts can be accessed through USTVNow.

 

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3 hours ago, ibarra said:

We have used Kodi with add ons  for almost 3 years.  We use RealDebrid for VPN.

I'm leaning that way.

One thing to note is that a Kodi (plus add-ons) or Kodi-like setup doesn't require a VPN. They're separate concerns.

In the States, though, it's probably best to combine them, so your ISP won't know what you're doing. Your ISP is in the unwanted position of having to police such things on behalf of content providers, or be punished by those providers. Staying out of trouble with your ISP is the name of the game.

I'm not sure Mexican ISPs can be pressured in this way.

LQ

 

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2 hours ago, MexSeekin said:

In lieu of YTTV, have you considered USTVNow?

Yes, and there are more operators in that space. It's pretty clever how they market as a provider to military families serving overseas. That's not who all or even most of their subscribers are, but what regulator or content provider would dare shut down a service so described?

What I didn't like about it is the user experience. Google won't allow their app in the Play Store, because at the end of the day they're copyright infringers. I could sideload the app, but not on the Chromecast devices we use. I can access it on Chromecast/Google TV in a browser, but then you're try to move a mouse using a TV remote's cursor keys, which gets annoying quickly.

But, if Roku's store allows stuff like the USTVNow app. maybe it's worth having one of their devices just for that purpose.

Thanks. That idea's a real contender.

LQ

 

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1 hour ago, Mainecoons said:

We use Strong VPN and they have been very successful and reliable about getting around blocking.

Other than for "how to do or fix stuff" videos I don't use UTube because they censor points of view that are not of the (you know which) narrative.

 

Two things:

YouTube TV is not YouTube. It's an OTT (over-the-top) TV service -- meaning delivered solely via internet -- that competes with SlingTV and similar. Plain YouTube is for user-generated content, and is free to use.

The open-internet ideal is that universal unfettered access is ultimately self-moderating, as viewers (in the case of YouTube) reward quality with their eyeballs, their attention. A belief that the cream will rise to the top, given the chance. Google and Googlers have clung to this ideal. I used to.

Of course in the real world, many or most people are gullible, emotional, and something less than informed, rational actors.

So, regrettably, snake oil, incitement, and $ynical grift are no longer allowed on YouTube -- because a lot of damage can happen while we wait for folks to wise up, and allowing an ideal to triumph over common sense is itself intellectually unsound.

LQ

 

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Oh it is still allowed OK, just only from one side.

Nice recitation of the Party line.  Think about applying for a job in the new Ministry of "Disinformation."  People who label anything they don't agree with is snake oil and incitement are eminently qualified for the position.  :D 

LOL

Anyway I have no trouble streaming UTube through Strong VPN either on my PC or through my TV ROKU.  Always works perfectly.  A VPN is a very handy thing to have here for a number of reasons.  One thing it does enable us to do is to have a U.S. phone number corresponding to our legal residence in Texas.

And it even works great through clunky, not very fast TelMex Infinitum.  Hopefully we'll be upgrading that soon once we have confidence the replacement will be reliable.

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"Of course in the real world, many or most people are gullible, emotional, and something less than informed, rational actors. "

Pat yourself on the back for that one. That's the quote of the month IMO.

 

 

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I'm probably the guy you mention. We've been using You Tube TV for about a year now. We tried some of the local streaming services, which seem to be using pirated signals from NOB. Things regularly went down. We switched to Dish TV, which worked well for three years or so, then they lost our base station in Cincinnatti and they had a problem finding another. So we tried HULU and some other net-based services, but they would not work if you had a VPN on. We arranged to open a YouTube TV account with our daughter in the States (Ohio). Then we added ourselves as an authorized user, using a VPN in Mexico. Recently we added our other daughter using a VPN in Italy. All three work at the same time, and work well.

The key seems to be the base station for the account must access YouTube TV at least once every ninety days from the base location. If that happens, they don;t care where else you access from. Hope that helps!

 

 

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28 minutes ago, RickS said:

Pat yourself on the back for that one.

I was raised never to pat myself on the back. It's unseemly, and not a good example to set. True fact.

As for the whole politics-as-sports thing, with sides and teams and fandom and rallies and the crushing of opponents -- I guess it's all beyond me. I'm not smart enough.

Saludos a todos!

LQ

 

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31 minutes ago, NoVaDamer said:

Then we added ourselves as an authorized user, using a VPN in Mexico.

Yes, a VPN will be needed anywhere outside the U.S., because YTTV only has distribution rights for the U.S. If they had a slew of content deals in Mexico (or Italy), they'd offer the service there.

Would you mind saying on which VPN provider you have it working, and the server location you've chosen? I've tried more than a few combinations with no luck.

(Also, since I carry a Google-branded phone and use location services, YTTV has more signals than GeoIP for determining my location. In my case it might be necessary to turn phone location services off sometimes.)

LQ

 

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34 minutes ago, NoVaDamer said:

I'm probably the guy you mention. We've been using You Tube TV for about a year now. We tried some of the local streaming services, which seem to be using pirated signals from NOB. Things regularly went down. We switched to Dish TV, which worked well for three years or so, then they lost our base station in Cincinnatti and they had a problem finding another. So we tried HULU and some other net-based services, but they would not work if you had a VPN on. We arranged to open a YouTube TV account with our daughter in the States (Ohio). Then we added ourselves as an authorized user, using a VPN in Mexico. Recently we added our other daughter using a VPN in Italy. All three work at the same time, and work well.

The key seems to be the base station for the account must access YouTube TV at least once every ninety days from the base location. If that happens, they don;t care where else you access from. Hope that helps!

 

 

Just be aware that some of the VPNs, not just Strong but also I believe Express VPN, are getting around these blocks.

Is it not true that some U Tube content will not stream through an out of NOB server?  That was my understanding though as I noted we don't use it for much.

It really is fantastic for finding videos of repair of all sorts of stuff.  In just the last year I've used it to change an ice maker in an LG fridge, fix a Wolf Range, fix a clock, diagnose problems with the AC in my car, it just goes on and on.

As noted we use Strong and the server is in Dallas.  Our legal address is in Livingston.  Both Texas.

We have had to switch between servers several times, the great Strong customer service walks us through it every time.

 

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30 minutes ago, NoVaDamer said:

The key seems to be the base station for the account must access YouTube TV at least once every ninety days from the base location. If that happens, they don;t care where else you access from. Hope that helps!

 

 

Interesting. I tried YouTube TV when it first came out and offered a free month or something like that. At least at that time the only browser they would let you use was Google Chrome (on Mac). They required you have location services enabled in the browser and so just a VPN was not enough. I found a way through developer tools to "spoof" you location and that worked. It was a real hassle though and figured it might not work forever and wasn't worth the hassle and so canceled the subscription.

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2 minutes ago, Mainecoons said:

Is it not true that some U Tube content will not stream through an out of NOB server?

It is not. YouTube is as open as a baby's mind, and there's no need to think about servers or any of that. YouTube creators are all over the globe and it's served worldwide without restriction. That's why some governments block it. It's too open.

LQ

 

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Me thinks that there's still some confusion going on. This conversation is about streaming TV but some still want to talk about YouTube videos about how to make bread. As LQ has mentioned, "that's not streaming TV".

 

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Quote

 

 

7 hours ago, Lou Quillio said:

Yes, a VPN will be needed anywhere outside the U.S., because YTTV only has distribution rights for the U.S. If they had a slew of content deals in Mexico (or Italy), they'd offer the service there.

Would you mind saying on which VPN provider you have it working, and the server location you've chosen? I've tried more than a few combinations with no luck.

(Also, since I carry a Google-branded phone and use location services, YTTV has more signals than GeoIP for determining my location. In my case it might be necessary to turn phone location services off sometimes.)

LQ

 

We use ExpressVPN, often with Chicago or DC. With YouTube TV, we've never had to switch servers. The phone connection is interesting; we have TMobile, but use Chrome on all our devices, so Google knows where we are.

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On 5/15/2022 at 11:06 PM, NoVaDamer said:

We use ExpressVPN, often with Chicago or DC. With YouTube TV, we've never had to switch servers.

I have YTTV working with only a VPN, though there's no way to cast it. Progress!

I casually subscribe to Mozilla VPN ($5/mo), which is branded, white-labeled Mullvad. In the SF Bay Area I'd choose a server in San Jose, and that looked fine to YTTV for a short while. But quite a few months ago, YTTV started pitching first location complaints, then "VPN Detected." Full stop. I learned to only bring the tunnel up when I didn't want to use YTTV. Wasn't trying to spoof my general location, just my identity.

What evidently happened is that the IPs Mozilla/Mullvad was handing out for San Jose were spoiled. GeoIP lookups placed my typical VPN IP in, say, Oulu, Finland. More importantly, it became known that this was a VPN provider's IP. "VPN Detected."

Mozilla's deal with Mullvad apparently didn't include sufficient freshening of IP blocks, and the same was probably true for all their servers. Or so I reckoned.

But their server listed for Chicago (first alternative I tried) works just fine for YTTV here. They think I'm traveling. Probably doesn't hurt that Joan's using the same subscription in its home area of record (SF).

I'm gonna pursue something Kodi-like once I get my NAS here; many thanks for the great tips, especially via PM.

Another choice is to figure out a whole-house VPN arrangement, but I'd have to change some of my gear. Project for another day.

Think I've neglected to mention that it's pretty easy to run your own VPN server, open source-style:

https://getoutline.org/

Guaranteed private, locate it where you want, etc.

Thanks, all.

LQ

 

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11 minutes ago, catbird said:

I get YouTube premium thru my AppleTV box.

Yes, I have it too. Requires subscription, but not VPN (location spoofing). Terminology:

  • YouTube = Free and ad-supported; the plain YT everybody knows
  • YouTube Premium = Ad-free YouTube, plus some "originals."
  • YouTube TV = Unrelated to the above, though it shares the "YouTube" brand. Paid streaming TV service. TV networks, local programming, DVR functionality, etc. Comparable to old-skool cable TV, but arrives via internet.

LQ

 

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Me thinks that you are just going to have to 'put up with' the frequent misunderstanding of just what YOUR subject is and what the masses.... less a few.... THINK you are talking about. 

So far your evenhanded responses to this misunderstanding are exemplary... especially for this Board!

 

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1 hour ago, RickS said:

you are just going to have to 'put up with'

Sí, claro.

I've built and run many discussion boards (and other sites) over the years. Still have one going --- a completely private one (invitation-only, not indexed by search engines) that I built to replace _The Atlantic's_ discussion tool when they closed it. Uses Discourse on a tiny little virtual machine somewhere. Discourse is truly excellent software.

One day I'll figure something to serve from quillio.mx. Maybe Lakeside Starlink tips, who knows.

Anyhow, pretty much seen it all, and built a lot of it. Folks are always folks, same as downtown.

LQ

 

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