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PBS Live Streaming FAQ and Troubleshooting



Frequently Asked Questions


How can I watch a live stream on PBS.org?

To begin watching a live stream from your local PBS station on PBS.org, click the LIVE TV option at the top right corner of the site. Depending on your browser, you may instead see a menu icon ( ☰ ). Click this icon to open the menu where the LIVE TV option will also be listed.

You can also click this direct link to open the live stream on PBS.org.

Once you've opened the live stream, click the Start Watching button or the triangular play button to start the live stream.


Can I watch the live stream from any location or change between PBS station's streams?

You can only watch the live stream from a local PBS station which serves your broadcast area. You will be unable to view the live stream of a PBS station outside of your geographic area. If you are served by multiple PBS stations in your broadcast area, you can change your local station on the site to view other station live streams.


Which local PBS stations offer live streaming on PBS.org?

Since live streaming is new on PBS.org, not every local PBS station offers a live stream yet. More stations will offer the live stream in the future. The stations currently offering a live stream are listed below:

  • KUAC 
  • Mountain Lake PBS 
  • Ozarks Public Television
  • West VA Public Broadcasting
  • WETA 
  • WGTE 
  • WQLN
  • WSIU
  • WUFT-TV

What devices can I use to watch the live stream?

You can watch the live stream on your computer or on other devices that support the following web browsers: Google Chrome - Mozilla Firefox - Safari - Microsoft Edge

While other web browsers can visit PBS.org - such as Amazon Silk or third-party browsers included on Smart TVs - these web browsers are not officially supported and we cannot guarantee video playback or offer troubleshooting for these unsupported browsers.

You can also watch the live stream on the PBS Video Channel on Roku devices. On the PBS Video channel home screen, select Live TV at the top of the channel to begin watching. Press OK on your remote to begin watching.

The live stream is not available on the PBS Video app on other devices at this time, but we are working on bringing live streaming to other devices in the near future.


Do I need to be a Passport benefit member or pay a fee to watch the live stream on PBS.org?

You do not need to be a member with your local PBS station in order to watch their live stream. There is no fee required, and you will not be prompted to enter any payment information before watching the live stream.


Does my local station's live stream match what's airing on their television broadcast? How can I see the program schedule for my PBS station's live stream?

Your local station's live stream may not always match what's airing on their broadcast. Online schedules are currently not available for the PBS.org live stream, but we hope to offer this feature in an upcoming update.


I saw a program on my station's live stream and would like to watch it again. Can I watch the program elsewhere?

The PBS.org site and PBS Video app offer thousands of videos for streaming at your convenience, including popular programs such as Nature, Masterpiece, NOVA, American Experience, and more.

We recommend exploring our Shows page or using our Search feature to find a specific program you're interested in watching.

Unfortunately, due to the different legal rights required in order to offer videos on our site and app, not every program is available for streaming outside of the live stream. It's possible that PBS or your local station may only have the rights to offer a program through television broadcast or the live stream, and cannot offer the program outside of those two options. 

If you are interested in a program that is unavailable through streaming with PBS, we recommend checking your local station's TV schedule for any possible re-airings of the program. You may also be able to purchase the program through Shop PBS or a third party, such as Amazon Video or Apple iTunes. If you would like to request a specific program for streaming on PBS.org, please email us at help@pbs.org.



Troubleshooting


Error Message: We could not determine your device's location.

If you're receiving this error message, you most likely need to enable location sharing on your device or browser. Please select your browser below to see instructions for enabling this feature on your device.


Error Message: The livestream is not available in your current location.

This error message can appear if you attempt to view the live stream of a PBS station outside of your area. Each PBS station can only offer its live stream to users in their service area. Click here for more suggestions.


Error Message: Something went wrong while getting your device's location.

We recommend clicking the Try Again button beneath this error message to refresh the live stream. If the issue persists, click here for more suggestions.


I don't see the LIVE TV option and cannot find the live stream.

If you do not see the LIVE TV option at the top of the site, and if you are redirected to the PBS.org homepage when visiting the live stream link directly, your local PBS station most likely does not offer a live stream on PBS.org at this time. If you are served by multiple PBS stations in your area, we recommend seeing if other PBS stations in your area offer a live stream by changing your local station on the site.

If you are outside of a PBS station's service area, you will be unable to view their live stream even if they offer a live stream. In these cases, you will see the error message "The livestream is not available in your current location" covered above.


The live stream is stuttering, buffering, pausing, or freezing.

The live stream will automatically try to offer you the smoothest playback experience possible on your network, but network connectivity issues can happen. 

If you notice frequent playback issues with the live stream that do not resolve on their own, we recommend checking to see if you have any other streams or downloads in progress, both on PBS.org or on your network.

If the issue persists, you can try to temporarily lowering the quality of your live stream to reduce the demand on your network. You can manage this setting by clicking the gear icon in the lower right corner of the live stream, and selecting an option from the list that appears, such as 720p, 540p, or 432p. A lower kbps selection can offer smoother playback.

If issues persist, we recommend trying the other suggestions on our streaming help page linked here.