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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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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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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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #21 · (Edited)
The dvr system is a paid service, simply streaming the live channels by the public is free (to the public). That plus the 'reverse' retransmission fees is what powers LocalBTV. Stations get their signal out to to a much broader market, IF without that system a wide enough audience is unable to recieve those channels, either through ota, or reasonable cost cable/satellite or other means. This was the flaw in LocalBTVs expansion throughout 2020-21. It seemed none (or few) of those markets had extensive numbers of viewers that met enough of those demographics.

For years the way the broadcast licence laws were written from the 1920s through the 1950s, retransmission of signals on the public airways through any medium was allowed within certain restrictions, which aereo and later locast believe they were within. The fact that some shaving of those laws were done in the 90s, which were never tested in the supreme court (and which lower courts have made decisions on without any guidance on whether the original laws from earlier decades could be thrown out or mangled) simply shows that neither aereo or locast had the money to take the case(s) forward, which shows the biggest flaw in the american legal system: those with the gold get the real final decision, or no real decision. And the broadcasters who now make more from their retransmission consent instead of adverts, have the illgotten gold (thanks to congress passing potentially unconstitutional laws, never tested by the Supremes, which remain in force).

So the entire American broadcasting regime, supposedly built on 'public' airways, is down a rabbit hole which will take some billionaire or two to dig it out of. If ever. An entire couple of generations of community resources which were dedicated to bringing distant signals to far flung communities have now been lost. New technologies could help bring it back into balance, but not if it keeps getting strangled in the crib.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Sorry but you're dead wrong. It's of no use trying to argue on the internet, but I've been a broadcast engineer for over 40 years and one of my aunts is a retired federal judge, and my father helped establish many community cable systems in the pacific northwest from 1950 onwards.

You cant refuse (okay, on the internet you can) the facts. Others can do the public research and come to the same conclusions as I; the system as we have it now is rigged, and will take a huge effort to return the system to benefit the real owners, the american public.
 
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