Locast - What does that mean to us?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by Steveknj, May 31, 2019.

  1. Steveknj

    Steveknj Icon

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  2. makaiguy

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    What does it mean to us? Unless we're located in one of the few cities where Locast has been implemented, not a damned thing.
     
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  3. NashGuy

    NashGuy Active Member

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    I saw that too and wondered about it. The simplest and cheapest (and therefore likeliest, IMO) implementation would just be to add the Locast app to DTV and Uverse receivers, which would mean that the streaming channels are segregated away from the rest of the receiver's functionality. So no recording to your DVR.

    Only reason why anyone on DTV or Uverse TV actually would use the app is if one of their locals got temporarily dropped from their normal channel line-up during a contract renegotiation standoff with AT&T. The Locast app is quicker and cheaper for AT&T (and simpler for the customer) than shipping and installing an OTA antenna and tuner that can integrate into the receiver (which is apparently something that they would still need to do anyway, given that Locast only operates in a handful of local markets).

    More than anything, I think AT&T's move to install this app (or their publicly announced threat to do so) is about giving them additional leverage in those contract renegotiations.
     
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  4. James Long

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

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    It certainly increases the visibility of Locast. The company needs to be sued to make a determination whether or not their "non profit" distribution is legal.

    AT&T isn't non-profit. The courts will need to decide whether or not they can promote the service by providing the app.
     
  5. NashGuy

    NashGuy Active Member

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    Yeah, it'll be interesting to see how this all plays out legally. I think the broadcasters have so far chosen to just ignore Locast rather than sue them and bring attention (and additional users), probably hoping that Locast runs out of money and eventually collapses. But AT&T putting the app on their boxes might force the broadcasters to sue. It's true that AT&T isn't a non-profit but then neither is Roku, which distributes the Locast app on their platform. In both cases (I assume), Locast isn't receiving any compensation from the distributor.

    BTW, the AT&T press release just popped up on my Google feed. I was correct in saying that it's just the app (not some sort of integration of the Locast streaming channels into the main DTV/Uverse TV UI). Also says that LCCs will continue to be distributed for free to customers in blackout markets. (Does the LCC work with Uverse TV receivers too or just the DTV boxes?)

    AT&T Adding Interactive Public Service Locast App to DIRECTV and U-verse Video Platforms Starting Today
     
  6. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    It all depends on what they plan to do with it. If they simply make a Locast app available on the Genie, then it is IMHO pretty useless. You might find your way to it during a dispute, or watch live programming on it during a storm, but that's about it.

    If they integrated it into their software so channels show up as e.g. '5-1' in your guide, and allow recordings, then it would it would be a huge "SHOTS FIRED!" across the bow of Sinclair, Nexstar, and so forth.

    That level of integration would take time, so even if it shows up as an app first I guess that doesn't necessarily mean it will always be an app. Hopefully AT&T will say more about it, maybe during their next earnings call?

    I could see them doing this as a negotiation ploy - "better play ball with us, otherwise if the courts uphold Locast we will fund their expansion to every market, and allow every customer with a good internet connection to drop locals". If they did that, and integrated it into the Genie's functionality (sorry, don't hold your breath for this on H2x/HR2x) it would be almost as if they shipped an LCC to all 20 million customers.

    If Locast is upheld, and cable companies jumped aboard, it would drive Sinclair and others into bankruptcy, and the networks would start losing huge sums of money. It would totally upend the sports rights market, all the content that is on broadcast TV like the NFL, college football etc. would flee to ESPN and other 'cable' channels where they didn't have to worry about most of the country no longer paying for the content. It would be a huge upheaval, so I'm thinking the courts will find a way to rule it illegal in the end.
     
  7. Richard

    Richard Legend

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    They NEED to be sued? Why? How does what they are doing negatively affect you exactly? Please explain.
     
  8. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    He is saying that until they are sued and the court renders an opinion as to whether their business model is legal or not, we won't know whether this service will be around.

    Sort of like how states passing restrictive abortion laws want to be sued so that Roe v Wade will be reviewed and possibly overturned by the Supreme Court.
     
  9. Richard

    Richard Legend

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    NO ONE should have to pay to receive these broadcasts through any means. These are already advertiser supported channels. The more eyes that a channel gets, the higher they can charge for those advertisements. They channels themselves, should be REQUiRED to provide a streaming feed over the internet, free of charge, as a condition to retain their broadcast license. They should also be required to provide access to their feed, without fees, to cable / satellite providers for inclusion in their packages, so long as those providers do not charge for them either.
     
  10. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    You are free to believe that if you like, but copyright law, congress and the courts disagree.
     
  11. Steveknj

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    They are, aren't they? Put up an antenna and they are free. The argument is that Locast is just another way to feed those channels to us. From their position, as long as they are non-profit, they could argue that, essentially the ARE an "antenna". Where it gets complicated is that a for profit company can now leverage this non-profit free service without paying them a fee, and if they can, so can cable companies, and streaming services like You Tube TV. I wonder how offering Locast falls in the "Must Carry" rules. I also wonder if it will be considered an anti-trust violation as a way to gain leverage in negotiations. I think Locast would have been fine so long as they stayed away from deals like this. But I imagine that with a big corporate friendly FCC, that they might be in trouble now.
     
  12. NashGuy

    NashGuy Active Member

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    I'd bet that's all this is ever going to be. Just the separate Locast app being installed on AT&T's own boxes.

    Yes. And I think it would be fundamentally different at that point, from a legal perspective. Because you would have AT&T -- not Locast -- distributing feeds of the locals in a way that would be virtually indistinguishable from the traditional feeds that AT&T pays for. THAT's the situation where the whole thing would lose in court for sure, because AT&T is a for-profit company and they would be exploiting Locast's free nonprofit streams in a clear attempt to flout the law and avoid paying the stations.

    Yeah, it's not gonna happen. AT&T's lawyers won't let it.

    I think the main function of including the Locast app is as a negotiation ploy (and possibly a way to avoid the expense of sending out LCCs to some customers).

    Locast might get upheld as a standalone app offered by a nonprofit company that controls the underlying streams end-to-end inside their own UI. But I really doubt that the courts will ever allow, under current law, for-profit companies (e.g. AT&T, Comcast, DISH, etc.) to take Locast's underlying streams and then redistribute them or even just integrate them into their own UIs, thereby making them recordable on their systems and functionally indistinguishable to the end user. MVPDs CAN do that with free OTA signals (e.g. AT&T's LCC, Sling's AirTV network tuner, etc.) but I just can't see the courts allowing it with internet-distributed live streams of the locals (especially after Aereo) because it would so undermine the retransmission consent aspect of the 1992 Cable Act.

    Speaking of that law, it's a reminder that there was a time not THAT long ago when the cable networks and their affiliates were able to make it on advertising revenue alone, without all that retransmission compensation from cable and satellite distributors. If we somehow ever revert back to that system, I agree that it would mean a major shift in the economics of the broadcast networks. Would be really interesting to see how they would evolve. I tend to think that, years from now, pretty much all of the high-value content from the networks will be distributed through their own direct-to-consumer OTT platforms (e.g. Hulu, CBS AA, etc.), while local stations will mainly be a source of their own local content.
     
  13. vinhmen

    vinhmen Cool Member

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    I live in a market where my locals are accessible by Locast. Upon launching the app, I was prompted to go activate at the Locast site. Once I registered a guide appeared with my local channels. Select a channel, a video ad pops up to donate to Locast. Then ... frozen. Nothing. Back out to the guide, try another channel ... same result. After trying a third channel the app finally crashed. Launched it again .. same results.

    How is ATT not embarrassed by this?
     
  14. James Long

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

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    The Supreme Court of the United States disagrees with you. After the Supreme Court decision Congress wrote laws that are permissive and allow some infringement on the copyright owner's rights under narrow circumstances. Locast believes that operating as a non-profit allows them to skirt the copyright claims.
     
  15. vinhmen

    vinhmen Cool Member

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    I downloaded the Locast app on my Roku stick tv. Fired it up, signed on using my credentials established when I activated the Directv app. The channels load quickly and actually work great.

    Again, how is ATT not embarrassed by a pr announcement of an app release that doesn’t even work?
     
  16. NashGuy

    NashGuy Active Member

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    I tend to think that AT&T is beyond shame.
     
  17. HoTat2

    HoTat2 Hall Of Fame

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    Interesting loophole Locast found in the rules if it ends holding up in court.

    But I actually felt at the time that the former Aereo service found a better legal loophole. By claiming that they were just providing a remote OTA TV antenna and DVR service to each of their customers. And was not charging them money for any of the programming carried on those OTA channels.

    Guess it didn't work out though ....

    But I was impressed with the miniature OTA antenna technology they developed for the service.



    Sent from my LM-V405 using Tapatalk
     
  18. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    There wasn't anything 'impressive' about it, the smaller you make an antenna (quarter wave, eighth wave etc.) the weaker its pickup, but if you put close enough to the transmitter it doesn't matter.

    Aereo's problem was that it was a commercial service. Trying to work around it by making claims about what you were paying for didn't stand up to the court. Locast is trying to work around it by making the service free and asking for donations.

    AT&T jumping in and presumably donating a big chunk of cash will accelerate the timeline for it to get looked at by the courts - especially if AT&T brings this up (either to customers or the counterparty) during their next negotiation with a major local station owner group. Getting judicial review is probably what AT&T wants here, as quickly as possible. If they strike it down, so be it, if they don't the decision will provide a framework for what AT&T can do with it.

    I think it probably won't matter, if the courts rule in favor of Locast the corporate donations will FLOOD into congress down both aisles and they'll suddenly get infected by a temporary bipartisan spirit and pass a bill amending copyright law to expressly forbid Locast's business model.
     
  19. Steveknj

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    Is this app showing up on your Genie? Or through the DirecTV app? Or though the Roku app (which I already have)?
     
  20. Athlon646464

    Athlon646464 Gold Members DBSTalk Gold Club

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    It does not appear on my DRV's (as of yesterday). I added it to both my Apple TV and Roku, however, and it works great.
     
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