You’ve heard me talk about Locast before. Now, the free/donation supported service has added streaming in two critical areas just in time to help you get election day coverage.
Viewers in 17 counties around Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will be able to watch the following channels via Locast:
- WNEP ABC 16
- WBRE NBC 28
- WYOU CBS 22
- WOLF FOX 56
- PBS Kids
- Antenna TV
- The CW
- True Crime
Locast’s own announcement says that “more” channels are available but they don’t say what they are.
Viewers in 32 counties around the cities of Indianapolis, Bloomington, and Muncie will be able to stream 42 local TV channels. This includes:
- ABC 6
- NBC 13
- CBS 4
- FOX 59
- PBS Kids
- TruCrime Network
- Antenna TV
- The CW
Again the press release says there are more channels but doesn’t say what they are.
What Locast is
Locast is a service that streams your local channels to a phone or streaming box, 100% for free. You do have to watch nagging commercials asking you to donate on occasion but otherwise it’s free. You can get rid of those by contributing just a few dollars a month, less than you’ll generally pay for a streaming app. The organization is supported by donations from viewers and also by DISH and AT&T who contribute so Locast can be used on Genie and Hopper systems.
Is Locast legal?
Well, for the moment it’s “not illegal.” Although there are challenges from station owners, for the moment the courts are content to say that Locast operates as a “repeater.” Repeaters are non-profit companies that simply extend a signal. They’re allowed by broadcast law.
Broadcasters say that the investment by AT&T and DISH takes away their competitive edge in negotiations. I’m not really able to judge that. But, if that were true, I’d say that broadcasters themselves have been trying to increase their rates far beyond anything fair for a long time.
Is Locast better than an antenna?
It isn’t, because you have the option of occasional nag screens or ponying up a few bucks a month for a donation. With an antenna, there’s nothing more to buy, ever. Put up the antenna and you can watch live TV for free as it was intended. But, as a way to occasionally get live TV on your phone, it’s not only better than nothing, it’s actually pretty good.
Locast’s one weakness for now is that it’s really only in those 23 cities. That covers about 40% of the US population, but it doesn’t do a lot for viewers in pretty big cities like Seattle, Miami, New Orleans, Memphis, Salt Lake City, or dozens of other places all across the country.
How can I use Locast?
If you have DIRECTV or DISH, the process is simple. Here’s a guide I wrote for DIRECTV viewers, and here’s a similar one I found at DISH.com for the Hopper. If you want to use it on your phone, tablet or streaming device, search for Locast at your App Store or Play Store of choice. The app is free and easy to install. There’s an activation process, and it will need to see your location. It’s just as easy as that.
The big question: Why am I talking about it on this blog?
Solid Signal doesn’t make any money from Locast. We do make money when you buy an antenna from us. So why am I devoting time to Locast?
First of all, this is something AT&T feels strongly about. In the past, AT&T devices could use an adapter to get local channels over an antenna. That technology is not available for most users now, and it’s not supported by the latest hardware. But, if you’re in a market where Locast is available, you can use the Locast TV app to get more locals than AT&T carries. Unfortunately this doesn’t include DVR function, but it’s still a way to get live TV through your receiver and that’s something.
Second, I believe in the power of local TV. It doesn’t matter if it comes through the internet or over the air. Locally produced news and other programming is critically important especially as we navigate an ever-quickening stream of crises that threaten us more and more every day. By delivering local channels to more people, local stations benefit more from advertising dollars. This means they’ll be able to spend more on news and more on keeping you informed.
Ready to step up to an antenna?
Locast is great. I’m a big supporter. But as I said there’s a way to get free local TV and not ever have to pay another cent. Get a TV antenna from Solid Signal and you’ll be in total control. You won’t have to worry if Locast serves your area. You won’t have to worry about potential lawsuits. You’ll get free live TV 24/7. It’s your right, and it’s all waiting for you.