LOCAST attempts no cost OTA streaming solution

Discussion in 'Internet Streaming Services' started by 1948GG, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. 1948GG

    1948GG Icon

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    Tripped over these folks a few days ago; they believe that by using a 'loophole' in the federal law that they can stream broadcast OTA channels into DMA's around the country through the internet.

    Of course, this has been tried before to crash and burn results at the federal court level. But those who have had experience with community tv repeater systems, as long as it's done as a non-profit digital repeater it fits neatly within the law going back 80 years.

    Of course, it still costs $, but just like community repeaters they use a donation system to fund their operation. Cities currently serviced are by, Boston, Washington DC, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and Denver.

    One big missing component I noted in looking at their scheme was the lack of subchannels. So in that respect, they are no better than the satellite folks (that rarely carry any) and significantly poorer than the cable alternatives. I took a look at the OTA to digital streaming equipment on the market, and sets that take a complete atsc 8-channel broadcast to a digital stream is only slightly more $ than a unit that takes a 'main' or single stream to digital, so it appears to me that these folks aren't doing enough thinking in advance, and when folks take a look at what they give up vrs cable (in my case almost 30 channels, many of which I watch every day) that it will be the 'thin edge of the wedge' of potential users/donors.

    FYI, I live some 100+ miles out from the main city in my dma, and the local community here has a community repeater that 'translates' the CBS and fox affiliates, but not the ABC, nbc, two PBS, or 6 independent stations, or any subchannels. I do get all the channels/subchannels over streaming through xfinity/comcast 'instant tv' streaming service, <$20/month. If Locast came to my dma, provided the same level of service for a $5/month donation, I'd jump at it. But unless they relook at their operational model, I doubt they will.
     
  2. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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  3. mwdxer

    mwdxer Well-Known Member

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    If Locast is available, then are they available in the whole DMA, or just the metro area?
     
  4. mjwagner

    mjwagner Icon

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    AFAIK it is the entire DMA. I am well outside of the Philadelphia metro area but still within the DMA and Locast works fine. One tip for anyone interested in Locast and using a streaming device. Their is a free app (unless you want/need DVR service from them) that includes Locast as a "provider" - FitzyTV. The UI still needs some polish but does include a guide.
     
  5. 1948GG

    1948GG Icon

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    There are several low-power translator groups that have been in existence for well over 60+years that would come unglued (along with their political friends that have been cultivated over those years). It would be an interesting fight, but I dont think it will happen. But in my opinion, again, the lack of subchannels is a major downer.
     
  6. rnbmusicfan

    rnbmusicfan Legend

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    It has some subchannels. In Philly, it carries Heroes & Icons and AccuWeather from WFMZ. It also offers MeTV from WDPN which is on a low power VHF, which is typically challenging to receive unless one has the right outdoor antenna. However, it decided not to carry NJTV and WLVT, two full power PBS stations here, and just went with WHYY.

    In the Philly market, I think Xfinity Instant TV to be a better value (if an outdoor antenna is not possible) even though with Xfinity Instant TV one has to pay, and it's $20/month. But it has all the locals, all the subchannels, INSP, MusicChoice and 20 hours of cloud DVR.

    And, Locast has more recently become aggressive about the $5/month donation and if you don't donate, it will run it's advertisement over the local station's advertisement. I'd guess major stations like CBS 3 and ABC 6 would not be pleased to know that Locast is redistributing their programming without those stations retransmission and on top of it, then overlaying locast ads over the local station's ads. I think it's getting itself in a slippery slope doing that.

    There might be a way to get locast on your laptop from another market by using a VPN service into a server that is located in another market.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019
  7. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    If their prior actions are not enough to trigger a lawsuit, editing the local stations should be.
     
  8. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I don't believe that is even legal without written consent which I can't see anyone giving them for that.
     
  9. 1948GG

    1948GG Icon

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    Locast has really been expanding cities, and even more interesting has been adding subchannels (and even backfilling in New York and such) which was my big complaint originally. Many of the newer cities, even the smaller ones like in Iowa along with la) have the subchannels. Those of us out west where the dma's are huge (Seattle for instance is 200-250 miles on a side, which means cable is the only alternative as the sat folks don't carry subchannels; Spokane is even worse!).

    Looks like they are getting better, hopefully seattle/Portland is on their radar as they've added la and sf. However, they have skipped some full-power stations in Dallas and other cities, I've sent questioning emails on that.
     

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