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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
LocalBTV, after expanding to some 22 markets at the end of last year, has not made a move in some 3+ months, after announcing they would expand to 100+ markets in 2022.

The most popular 'subchannel' offerings continue to be awol; to wit, Metv, Decades, Heros and Icons, among others. Many if not all have recently made their appearance on F2Vtv (free2view TV), a free roku app.

I continue to wonder about LocalBTV's expansion plans, starting out in southern california, stopping in the bay area and north Nevada, skipping the rest of the west coast (utah, oregon, washington, and Idaho) shifting focus radically to the east. Those states out west have by far the largest dma's in the country outside of alaska, where ota reception is impossible over a huge chunk of their territory.
 

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I continue to wonder about LocalBTV's expansion plans, starting out in southern california, stopping in the bay area and north Nevada, skipping the rest of the west coast (utah, oregon, washington, and Idaho) shifting focus radically to the east. Those states out west have by far the largest dma's in the country outside of alaska, where ota reception is impossible over a huge chunk of their territory.
Largest DMA's by area? Or population...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
By sq. Miles, of course. Slc (salt lake city) used to be the largest dma in the lower 48, but that was 40 years ago, they've lost a bit around the edges as dma's in northern nevada and southern idaho got the fcc to encroach a bit into utah. But it's still huge.

The dma I live in, Seattle, stretches from the Canadian border in the north to the Columbia river/oregon in the extreme southwest of the state, just shy of 300 miles from one side to the other. Back in the analog days there were close to 50+ retransmitters rebroadcasting the 8-9 stations out of seattle, today there are some 15 left and several of those are slated for removal even though almost all the seattle stations have transitioned to atsc3.0 which was supposed to make retransmission easier as the transmitters can operate on the same frequency as the main without interference, so allocation by the fcc is a slam dunk. But the stations are so addicted to the retrans money from the cablecos and satcos they no longer want to spend a dime on upkeep of those facilities, and the local groups that used to have retired engineers and hams plus funding have pretty much all died off.

Of course, none of the major networks will ever sign up with LocalBTV but these smaller operations, except for the popular channels, have. Maybe with the roku app carrying them now the dam may have been broken, don't know.
 

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By sq. Miles, of course. Slc (salt lake city) used to be the largest dma in the lower 48, but that was 40 years ago, they've lost a bit around the edges as dma's in northern nevada and southern idaho got the fcc to encroach a bit into utah. But it's still huge.

The dma I live in, Seattle, stretches from the Canadian border in the north to the Columbia river/oregon in the extreme southwest of the state, just shy of 300 miles from one side to the other. Back in the analog days there were close to 50+ retransmitters rebroadcasting the 8-9 stations out of seattle, today there are some 15 left and several of those are slated for removal even though almost all the seattle stations have transitioned to atsc3.0 which was supposed to make retransmission easier as the transmitters can operate on the same frequency as the main without interference, so allocation by the fcc is a slam dunk. But the stations are so addicted to the retrans money from the cablecos and satcos they no longer want to spend a dime on upkeep of those facilities, and the local groups that used to have retired engineers and hams plus funding have pretty much all died off.

Of course, none of the major networks will ever sign up with LocalBTV but these smaller operations, except for the popular channels, have. Maybe with the roku app carrying them now the dam may have been broken, don't know.
LocalBTV opening up more DMA's in the heavily populated east makes sense then. It's eyeballs that sell advertising, not square miles...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The big cities back east, though, have multiple competing providers which has kept pricing in line and carriage cheap. The percentage of ota viewers is extremely small, even states with fairly large expanses of 'rural' blocks like New Jersey and Connecticut are heavily wired and fibered up. Yes. Lots of folks, but the number willing to jump through the hoops with iptv when multiple providers carry the same channels as part of a bundle, unless there is some niche network (foreign lang for instance) that is carried; but in the 'tri-state' area that's pretty few, unlike with the LA/SF model where the big cablecos wouldn't carry them. I had many friends that had wife's from south Asia countries and the only provider that would carry those channels was Dish, until BTV came along.

Maybe getting a couple percent of a million viewers works out, but I would venture 90% of 200k is a lot more, if my math is correct. And what's with these small southern markets? Kinda throws a wrench in the 'east is larger markets' thinking. And the market for niche programming is pretty thin there, except maybe for all the shopping channels.

Who knows, now that roku is carrying a huge number of these, albeit in the eastern time zone, it is helping. When/if BTV comes along, it may be a bit late.
 

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The big cities back east, though, have multiple competing providers which has kept pricing in line and carriage cheap. The percentage of ota viewers is extremely small, even states with fairly large expanses of 'rural' blocks like New Jersey and Connecticut are heavily wired and fibered up. Yes. Lots of folks, but the number willing to jump through the hoops with iptv when multiple providers carry the same channels as part of a bundle, unless there is some niche network (foreign lang for instance) that is carried; but in the 'tri-state' area that's pretty few, unlike with the LA/SF model where the big cablecos wouldn't carry them. I had many friends that had wife's from south Asia countries and the only provider that would carry those channels was Dish, until BTV came along.

Maybe getting a couple percent of a million viewers works out, but I would venture 90% of 200k is a lot more, if my math is correct. And what's with these small southern markets? Kinda throws a wrench in the 'east is larger markets' thinking. And the market for niche programming is pretty thin there, except maybe for all the shopping channels.

Who knows, now that roku is carrying a huge number of these, albeit in the eastern time zone, it is helping. When/if BTV comes along, it may be a bit late.
How many free apps for portable devices are offering those same local sub-channels? I'd expect that might be a target market for BTV more than large screen viewers. And if you want areas in the east with large mostly rural blocks though, check out the northern areas of NY state. The 9,375 square mile Adirondack Park comes to mind for one. Since neither one of us has any knowledge of the inner workings at BTV though, anything we come up with is pure speculation. If you really want to know what BTV is doing, maybe try asking them?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
As a broadcast engineer with over 50 years experience, both in government and with national and international equipment manufacturers, I've written several letters to both them and the ex locast folks, in locasts case asking if they would sell their systems to non- profit groups, but they wanted to simply destroy the systems in an attempt (I guess it worked) to get the huge amount they were on the hook for, to something small; $700k was the figure they eventually settled for, a rather lowball amount from the 10s of millions the court had originally assessed.

Many years ago, western Massachusetts was a near desert when it came to multichannel and internet providers but it slowly improved; I dont know if upstate NY managed to do the same, I used to know folks from Oswego and Ithica a few decades back, and it was a real dead zone, but have no idea how things are today. Then again, the Washington and Oregon coastline, dotted with small towns, were wired up by independent telcos in the 50s and 60s, all it took was aggressive community action in many cases starting out with 1 or 2 channels at best microwaved in from Portland or Eugene.
 

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By sq. Miles, of course. Slc (salt lake city) used to be the largest dma in the lower 48, but that was 40 years ago, they've lost a bit around the edges as dma's in northern nevada and southern idaho got the fcc to encroach a bit into utah. But it's still huge.
The SLC market is large, but a lot of that area isn't populated.

There are dozens of translators to be sure.
 

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As a broadcast engineer with over 50 years experience, both in government and with national and international equipment manufacturers, I've written several letters to both them and the ex locast folks, in locasts case asking if they would sell their systems to non- profit groups, but they wanted to simply destroy the systems in an attempt (I guess it worked) to get the huge amount they were on the hook for, to something small; $700k was the figure they eventually settled for, a rather lowball amount from the 10s of millions the court had originally assessed.

Many years ago, western Massachusetts was a near desert when it came to multichannel and internet providers but it slowly improved; I dont know if upstate NY managed to do the same, I used to know folks from Oswego and Ithica a few decades back, and it was a real dead zone, but have no idea how things are today. Then again, the Washington and Oregon coastline, dotted with small towns, were wired up by independent telcos in the 50s and 60s, all it took was aggressive community action in many cases starting out with 1 or 2 channels at best microwaved in from Portland or Eugene.
NY State initiated a $500 million project in 2015 to expand broadband coverage throughout the state. It worked pretty well:

"In comparison with the other fifty states, New York is the second most well-connected State in the US."

 

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NY State initiated a $500 million project in 2015 to expand broadband coverage throughout the state. It worked pretty well:

"In comparison with the other fifty states, New York is the second most well-connected State in the US."
What matters is the quality, availability and coverage. Being the best bowler in a group with a score of 100 isn't really good. Being the best golfer in a group by finishing 72 over par isn't really good. The existence of bowlers who average in the high 200s and golfers who average below par put those numbers in perspective. The lack of more than one state that is "better" than NY places NY state at #2, but is quality, availability and coverage excellent or adequate?

The survey linked was based on population. NY has a high concentration of population with access to cable internet and wireless internet which helps push them ahead of other states. Whether that service is affordable and more than just a baseline service is not part of the statistic.

The availability of higher speeds is lower in upstate NY - just like most states. Rural areas rely on lower speed coverage and are often considered covered due to higher priced options.
 

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What matters is the quality, availability and coverage. Being the best bowler in a group with a score of 100 isn't really good. Being the best golfer in a group by finishing 72 over par isn't really good. The existence of bowlers who average in the high 200s and golfers who average below par put those numbers in perspective. The lack of more than one state that is "better" than NY places NY state at #2, but is quality, availability and coverage excellent or adequate?

The survey linked was based on population. NY has a high concentration of population with access to cable internet and wireless internet which helps push them ahead of other states. Whether that service is affordable and more than just a baseline service is not part of the statistic.

The availability of higher speeds is lower in upstate NY - just like most states. Rural areas rely on lower speed coverage and are often considered covered due to higher priced options.
If you check the map or the county listings at the link, every county in the state including upstate comes in at 80+% coverage for 100 Mbps service except 3. Only Hamilton County, a large rural, mountainous county almost the size of Delaware and a population of just 5107 is well down with just 24% coverage. I expect the problem there is the difficult terrain and wide spread population that makes even cell coverage difficult, much less hard wiring the county. I don't know about other ISP's pricing, but Spectrum offers the same 200 Mbps service at $50 in their territories statewide. Bundles can bring that down a bit though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Here we are well into march and no additional markets added to btv; if they are to try and expand to anywhere near 100 or 200 they were saying was their goal late last year, they'll have to do so at a rate of over 2 per week for the rest of the year. Just from the installation side, they would need 2-300 workers nationwide to accomplish that, and and equal number of lawyers getting all the station agreements in order.

Not going to happen. With no movement the past 3+ months, I think they've run out of steam or money. If we're sitting here at the same point in another 3 months, we can rationally discuss where they went off the rails, concentrating on areas with a high percentage of multiple providers (and low prices) or those with sparse internet coverage, and/or lack of carriage of popular non-large network channels, many of which are now going around local ota coverage with national streaming, so the gap for something like btv to succeed is rapidly closing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
None of the 100+ markets for 2022 previewed almost a half year ago have been added. Although you make no mention of which market, the older ones do continue to operate but with no additional channels that I've been able to find out. No major networks on any of their systems (don't expect any) but none of the most popular off majors as well, i.e. metv, decades, etc.

If they are to believe to hit the 100 additional markets this year, they will have to launch 3+ markets per week for the rest of the year at this point, and every week that goes by it gets worse.
 

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I'm in the Philly region and it appears that the PBS stations that were added last, all now have the guide info but say in Channel Negotiations... It looks like they lost PBS.

Also Buzzr, which I thought was a free channel and even available on the Roku Channel free channels sections, has a message In Channel Negotiations.

They did get Cozi and recording is permitted, even though it is owned by Comcast, and Local BTV doesn't have NBC.

I really like their app. I suggested on another thread, it'd be great if FrndlyTV used their app and the two merged. Frndly has a billing system in place already and is in process of adding the MeTV suite of channels. It could use their app and Cozi, Antenna and renegotiate with PBS. That'd be an excellent combination.

Oddly, Local BTV also carries the primary signal of WPHL, owned by Nexstar, while YouTubeTV and Hulu Live do not have this channel.

While I like the app and concept, I don't really understand Local BTV's business model and how they have been in trial for so long. They made it sound like they would get all the broadcast networks like ABC NBC and CBS, and then have a subscription for it, but every month goes by, and I don't see how it is viable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It's getting close to 6 months since the last dma added. The early western markets looked like a fair amount of success with carriage of many south asian language stations in SF and LA that established cable and satellite failed to carry. Then their focus turned eastward to markets rich in both diversity and competition, in my opinion a shift doomed to failure. Add to that a total lack of focus on carrying the most popular independent channels out there, and the idea was doomed to fail. It's very possible that they have failed to secure additional funding to continue any expansion; time will tell.

But if any markets are closed down in the near future, that will signal a death knell. The only way it survives is a completely new management team.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Locast thought that 1950s fcc laws and regs were still in force, and that subsequent changes enacted in the 1990s failed to pass constitutional muster. And by the legal precedents of the 1950s, they were correct. But the repub federal judges in place after 12 years of court packing by Reagan and bush believed corporate interests trumped the public interest. The large numbers of community community repeaters and cable systems that had been established throughout the 50s to the early 90s slowly were either forced off the air or bought out by the big cablecos. The writing was in the wall, unseen by the eastern New York folks running locast.

LocalBTV has legal permission from every station on their systems across the country to feed the signals over the internet. But as I've pointed out in previous postings, the markets they decided to expand to after the first few out west were bad business decisions. And it appears they simply ran out of money to expand more as the numbers of subscribers simply didn't materialize. Unless they can entice some big investment money in the near future, they'll be dead.
 

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The writing was in the wall, unseen by the eastern New York folks running locast.
Intentionally IGNORANT of the law. A lot like Aereo who came up with some personal interpretation of the law and thought they found some convoluted loophole that would make their service legal.

I will give credit to Locast, Aereo and LocalBTV for restricting their rebroadcasts to the local DMA of each station (apparently they discovered that modern law). And I'll give credit to LocalBTV to seeking permission to rebroadcast. The #1 way to avoid copyright problems is to get permission to use the content!

And it appears they simply ran out of money to expand more as the numbers of subscribers simply didn't materialize. Unless they can entice some big investment money in the near future, they'll be dead.
How are the monetizing the service? As far as I can tell the subscribers are not paying. Are they selling ads? Their website mentions "ChannelBTV" where any channel any market can join for a low fee of $350 per year per 1000 streams. Is that how they are making money to cover expenses?

I will give credit to Locast and Aereo for having some plan to collect money to support their service (whether or not their service offering was legal). "And how do we monetize that?" should be the first question answered when starting a service. Who is going to invest if there is no plan to turn a profit?
 
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