In the last two days DIRECTV NOW, the streaming service from AT&T, has added 25 local channels and announced specific plans to add 40 more very soon. The service is becoming very robust and there’s so much good stuff to say, I couldn’t wait until Jake Buckler’s “Streaming Saturday” series for all of it. You’ll see a more detailed analysis of some of the other improvements on Saturday, let’s talk about the channels.
Yesterday was just a bonanza of channel additions all across the country. If you’re in one of these lucky markets you have just gained local TV from at least one network. Check it out:
- Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y. (NBC)
- Albuquerque-Santa Fe, N.M. (ABC, NBC)
- Bend, Ore. (FOX)
- Buffalo, N.Y. (ABC)
- Butte-Bozeman, Mont. (FOX)
- Columbia-Jefferson City, Mo. (FOX)
- Evansville, Ind. (FOX)
- Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo, Mich. (ABC)
- Great Falls, Mont. (FOX)
- Greensboro-Winston-Salem, N.C. (ABC)
- Joplin-Pittsburg, Kan. (FOX)
- Lafayette, La. (FOX)
- Lima, Ohio (FOX)
- Little Rock-Pine Bluff, Ark. (ABC)
- Louisville (FOX)
- Missoula, Mont. (FOX)
- Myrtle Beach-Florence, S.C. (FOX)
- Norfolk-Newport News, Va. (ABC)
- Oklahoma City (ABC)
- Palm Springs, Calif. (FOX)
- Santa Barbara-San Luis Obispo, Calif. (FOX)
- St. Joseph, Mo. (FOX)
- Tulsa, Okla. (ABC, NBC)
- Yuma, AZ-El Centro, Calif. (FOX)
Some of these stations have been in public testing for a few days but the official announcement made yesterday takes them “out of beta.”
AT&T announced a few weeks ago that it had plans to add CBS, CW, and Showtime programming but gave no timeline and very few details. They have since confirmed that a large chunk of those channel adds will be in markets where CBS itself owns the actual stations. Those stations are:
- Alexandria, Minnesota
- Fort Worth
- Los Angeles
- New York City
- San Francisco
- Stockton, California
- Walker, Minnesota
- San Francisco
Still no timeline, but it’s clearly coming very quickly. AT&T says that when the rollout is complete, they’ll offer 170 local channels in over 80 markets, making it the largest streaming local TV provider by far and covering well over 80% of people with live network programming.
The clear winner here, of course, is the streaming consumer who gets more and more local TV for the same price. The losers, if there are losers, are the non-network local channels. Unlike tradtional pay TV, there is no federal requirement that streaming TV providers offer to carry all the stations in a local market, and it’s not likely that AT&T will be spending a lot of time on those smaller local channels in smaller markets unless they’re part of a large conglomerate like Sinclair. It may be hard times ahead for these independent stations if you can’t stream them.
Of course, if you really want all the channels in your market you can pick up an antenna from Solid Signal. Most people can get 50-100 local programs all for free with an antenna, so it doesn’t matter what local channels your streaming provider offers.
Still, with or without local channels DIRECTV NOW is a great value and adding locals will be a big benefit to everyone as the service evolves. If you haven’t tried it, you can test it out for 7 days for free with no obligation by going to DIRECTV Now Free Trial – Streaming TV Service from ATT … I highly recommend it!