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This puts a definite glitch in my "cutting the cord" strategy of using DirecTV Stream as my primary source of content, supplemented by Locast for the locals I don't get, CW and PBS. I need to figure something out before I wind up going back to DirecTV Sat and get locked in for 2 more years. I'm playing with the idea of putting an antenna in my attic and using the existing cabling to hook it to the TV. Maybe that's a weekend project. We'll see. Won't do anything drastic until the whole thing is settled one way or the other.
 

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Have you tried the Local BTV app?

I assume you are in NJ by your userhandle, and BTV services both New York and Philly and has PBS stations. (It is a recent addition as a of year or so ago, as initially it lacked PBS stations). The parent company negotiated with the stations for transmission, unlike Locast. It's spotty with CW and MyNetwork, and doesn't have the Weigel owned networks (MeTV, Decades, etc.) but it has agreements for Cozi, getTV and Antenna TV broadcasts from the local markets. And a few digitnets like NewsNet, a low budget news network, and California Music Channel, even though neither are transmitted over the air in Philly.

When I checked it more lately, it also now permits recording on Cozi (from my NBC affiliate WCAU). Originally, Cozi was the only network where there was a message that recording via its cloud DVR wasn't permitting.

Eventually, BTV plans on charging, but right now, it's all free, and has a cloud DVR as well.

LocalBTV - Free Local TV
That's interesting, never heard of it, but, still missing all our network locals including the one main one missing from DirecTV Stream, WPIX (our local CW).
 

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That's old, wrong thinking. People are leaving CATV and SAT every day. In part due to the high retransmission fees. Dish demonstrated that people will opt out. OTA broadcasting has lost a lot of spectrum to Cell and it may continue as their numbers decline. Any business that fights technology becomes a dinosaur.
Just because it's old, or wrong for users, doesn't make it wrong for the networks. They want to get paid. They don't want broadcasting without permission. It might not make a lot of business sense in 2021, but I don't pretend to completely understand the model. Like a lot of thing around broadcasting which many of their standards were created in first the radio era and later in the early TV era, th

I'm a Locast subscriber and got an email late yesterday where they will no longer include "nag" interruptions for non paid subscribers. The issue they've determined is that it no longer becomes a "donation" when you include these types of nags where you have to pay to get them removed. I can see the court's point. So now a donation becomes completely voluntary (as a donation should be). I will keep donating as I want Locast to succeed, but I no longer have to in order to watch TV uninterrupted.
 

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Have you tried rabbit ears?

I see that Hulu with Live and YTTV also has WPIX, along with Directv Stream. Local BTV just complements as a free service, with PBS. With exception of YouTubeTV, none of the streaming services have PBS. In Philly, WPHL is missing from Hulu/YTTV. I never understood why Nexstar didn't push for WPHL carriage, when it pushed for NewsNation. WPHL even airs Action News at 10, operated by WPVI, owned by ABC, owned by Disney, yet Hulu with Live, owned by Disney, doesn't have WPHL. Anyways I digress.

But I found if I want to save money over Comcast/FIOS, I have to use multiple app to get the same or more channels.
Rabbit ears don't work, I only get a few locals, most don't work. I'm going to try an antenna in the attic and see if that goes. Problem with YTTV, Hulu and most of the others are the RSNs, they don't have them. So if the rabbit ears solution doesn't work, I'll probably head back to DirecTV
 

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Can you give a reference to exactly where in their license stations are required to do as you suggest? Stations are required to use their licenses (cannot be off air for more than a year) and are expected to use all of their license (full transmit power as licensed within 10% below or 5% above licensed power, IIRC) but OTA stations are not licensed or required to provide service to X number of people or X% of a defined area. They are licensed to transmit at a certain height and power. As long as they do that without interfering with other licensed services reception is the problem of the viewer. (There are other requirements, such as educational programming, political programming, etc. But I'll confine the statement to how a station is required to use their transmitter.)

Wishing it was different is common. Even I want it to be different. But wishing doesn't change the reality of the situation.

A cease and desist order (restraining order) needs to be followed. They can go back to the judge and say "hey, we have removed the nag screen and our signal is now freely available separate from donation". But they CANNOT continue to operate without the judge changing the order.

Think about it as being pulled over by a police officer for speeding. You're doing 55 in a 25, the police car pulls up behind you, the lights turn on. That tells you to STOP. You don't get to slow down to the speed limit and say "hey, I am now compliant". You STOP and stay stopped until the officer allows you to move again (with their choice of a warning or ticket or arrest - especially for 55 in a 25!). The judge says STOP ... you stop.
On the other hand, if you pay your fine and then only do 25 that would make you compliant from that point on. So, using that analogy, If Locast pays the fine, and now makes donations volutary, wouldn't that mean they can remove the cease and desist order? I do wonder if that's what they are working on.
 

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YouTube TV does offer SNY. If the Mets are your main team then you might be in business. If you are looking for MSG and YES then Directv Stream is your only streaming option. If you want WPIX just for Yankees games you could see those games on Amazon Prime.
Yankees here, so SNY does me no good. As for WPIX, my son watches all the comic book shows so that's why it's important to have.
 

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A classic streaming dilemma. The antenna idea is good since it gives you flexibility. You want VHF elements since WPIX and WNET are high VHF signals. Another viewing method for PBS is the streaming apps offered by NJ PBS and WNET and WLIW. YouTube TV offers Connecticut PBS and WLIW and WNET in the NY Metro area. With no contracts you could go with Directv Stream during the baseball season and substitute the lower priced YouTube TV during the baseball off-season. There is a possibility that YES will be offered direct to consumer next season but I think it is less likely to be offered than the fully owned Sinclair RSNs.
It's more than just YES unfortunately. NY actually have 4 RSNs, YES and SNY, plus 2 MSG channels. MSG is also not offered on YTTV. The only reason I cut the cord in the first place was because there was FINALLY a full featured OTT that has all 4 RSNs. Plus, if it was just me, rotating among the various OTT services wouldn't be a big deal, but I have other people in the house where I'm trying to make things as easy as possible. Even THIS solution is not as intuitive as having everything in one place.

I put up an antenna over the weekend and bought HD Homerun to "stream" the OTA contents via Channels. Works decently and no change in reality to what we were doing before (and in the long run, save another $5). Still need to tweak the antenna some, but that's next weekend's project.
 

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The Local station model is archaic and no longer needed. Everyone should boycott providers who continue to bow to

It all has to do with advertising contracts. Though, with all the consolidation that has been allowed to happen, every single local station could be owned by one company some day.

Congress is the one to blame, for allowing these companies, who were GIVEN free airwaves to broadcast on, to then charge anyone who tries to re-broadcast that signal how ever much they want. It's all a product of our corrupt, broken political system where those who are supposed to represent us all, only represent those who pay them the most.
I agree, but this is low on the Congressional totem pole of things that they need to fix. The old system, I agree is archaic and comes from a time when cable TV was a budding power and local advertisters wanted to protect themselves. They also see that there ARE alternatives. With that said, they need to look at how people watch TV, consider that something like Locast CAN be used similarly to any other streaming service and that there can be money to be made all around. And really, I think this has to do with donations and how they are used more than transmission rights, am I correct? Why couldn't a company like Locast try and work with the 4 majors and offer a service that ONLY offers locals? That's the part I don't get (though I assume this has to do with contracts they have with existing providers). I would think that if a cable company chooses to charge for carriage (and decline "must carry rules") then a service like Locast should be able to thrive.
 

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OK, first off, yes, the recent ruling had to do with how Locast, as a purported non-profit, was spending their donations. The judge found that Locast's practices violated their non-profit status, which therefore invalidated their entire operation (because they were relying on a law that specifically only allows non-profits to retransmit OTA signals). The judge didn't get into the bigger issue about transmission rights (i.e. a non-profit's ability to retransmit OTA signals without the station's consent over the internet), so that's still unsettled.

Now, on to your bigger question: you're asking why Locast couldn't work with locals to strike deals with them, i.e. get their permission to retransmit their signals over the internet to paying customers. This would mean that the locals would charge Locast an agreed-upon amount per viewer and Locast would pass that cost on to their subscribers.

The main problem with that idea is that the media companies that own the broadcast networks aren't in favor of locals-only channel packages. Keep in mind that the largest local station affiliates of the big 4 networks are owned and operated by the networks themselves. Your local market (NYC) is a great example of that. WABC is owned by Disney/ABC; WNBC is owned by Comcast/NBC; WCBS is owned by ViacomCBS; and WNYW is owned by Fox. If Locast, or any other streaming linear channel pay TV service, approached WABC and asked to include them in their fledgling service, Disney would insist that they also carry the ESPN channels, the Disney channels, and Freeform. Likewise, WNBC would also want their cable channel cousins USA, MSNBC, E!, SyFy and Bravo to be carried in the service. If it was possible to create a locals-only package, it's reasonable to think that YouTube TV, Hulu Live, FuboTV, DTV Stream, Philo, and/or Frndly TV would already be doing it. (Or, for that matter, Dish and DTV satellite service too.)

IMO, the far more likely scenario we may see, in terms of paid streaming of local channels, is that these media companies will absorb their local affiliates into their direct-to-consumer streaming services. We already see this with CBS, whose local stations have a live stream included in the $10/mo premium tier of Paramount+. Seems logical that we'll eventually see the base on-demand version of Hulu include live local ABC stations. (It already includes a live stream of the national ABC News Live, BTW.) And likewise, we may see the premium tier of Peacock include live local NBC stations.

Also note that there already exists a vendor selling a locals-only channel package: your local cable company. I presume that cable TV operators can offer locals-only service due to historical local franchise agreements or some other government regulation(s) mandating it. Anyone who can stream Locast necessarily has internet service, so it's highly, highly likely that the local cable TV operator offers service at their address (even if they instead happen to get internet via a fiber, telco, or fixed wireless provider). Around here, the cost to get Limited Basic standalone TV service from Comcast (which is just the locals) is about $32/mo, plus another $10/mo if you want them in HD. If you're adding it to broadband, and streaming those TV channels via their Xfinity Stream app, it appears to add $30/mo to your bill, with HD (and 20 hrs of cloud DVR plus on-demand content) included at no extra cost. Either way, it looks like about half the cost that Comcast is charging is being passed on to the local stations, given that their stated Broadcast TV Fee is over $15/mo. (That fee is included in the prices I quoted above.)
I have no doubt you are correct. I just see this as short sighted by the networks as it could be another service they could offer to get eyeballs to watch these shows AND get money from the provider. To me it's just another method to view them like free OTA via an antenna or via cable, but instead, it's streaming. I have no doubt the cable companies play into this (and considering the largest cable company also owns NBC....another reason why that should never be allowed) who want to NOT give any new reason to customers to disconnect.

I have (well soon to be had) "Broadcast Basic" from Optimum for years. It used to be about $20 a month and worked through a clear QAM tuner. In fact at first having their Internet would actually give it to you which I found out by accident by just hooking the cable to the back of my TV after I got DirecTV. But now, it's costing me $50 (after taxes and fees) AND they are encrypting the signal so you would need a cable box, which I don't want (they are giving us one if we want it free for 2 years). So I am going to cancel it. With streaming and now an antenna I don't need it any longer. But lets say a service like Locast offered something similar, even for $15 a month, I would have paid it gladly. $5 a month was a no brainer. These companies better wise up. The TV model is changing drastically. And unless these networks want to become as niche as the cable networks, they better figure things out so you can stream locals.
 

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Yeah, Comcast used to transmit basic cable (i.e. locals plus one or two other channels such as WGN and InHD) via clear QAM too. I don't remember the price but it was pretty cheap. Way back in the 90s, I think it was under $10/mo. In 2006, when I bought my current house, it was for some odd reason cheaper to bundle basic cable with broadband from Comcast than to just have standalone broadband. So of course I took the bundle. For a few years, I used a subscription-free Sony HD DVR in tandem with clear QAM for all my TV viewing, other than DVDs.

OMG, $50/mo for locals? Absolutely nuts. It's like they're begging folks to use an antenna.

Frankly, I think broadcast networks/locals being as niche as cable networks is probably a foregone conclusion. Take a look at this recent survey by Variety:

The Reckoning for Traditional TV Is Fast Approaching - Variety

They asked various age groups to rank how entertaining they find 9 different sources spanning various forms of streaming, traditional TV, video games and social media. "Broadcast TV networks" ranked in the top 3 sources for 66% of those age 60+, 44% for ages 45-59, 20% for ages 30-44 and only 13% for ages 15-29. Meanwhile, broadcast ranked in the bottom 3 for only 11% for 60+ but 26% for ages 45-59, 43% for ages 30-44, and a whopping 54% of ages 15-29. The numbers were overall very similar, just slightly worse, for cable TV networks.

Let's be honest: if anyone were developing a national+local system of video entertainment, news, sports, etc. today, from scratch, it would not look much like our existing system. IMO, here's the money quote from the Variety report:

In the early 2040s, many of those currently propping up traditional TV will no longer be alive. The current 45-59 cohort will then be 65-79 and be network TV's last stand (as cable TV will have effectively vanished by then). Local stations, especially their news operations, and multicast networks have the next 10 years or so to utilize alternative distribution formats, such as FAST's linear streaming, in order to maintain relevancy, with the younger generations shying away from their current means of reaching homes.

Locally-produced news and other content won't go away but the way it gets packaged and delivered (i.e. via 24/7 linear channels that also include national content from major network partners) will.
Your last line is the important one. I think there's still a need for local broadcasts, news, information shows and local sports. Perhaps they still bring in nationally broadcast content, but that won't be the only way to get it. But I think the way it's received is in the process of changing drastically and forcing people to buy an expensive cable package or put up a vintage 1970s antenna doesn't seem to be the way people want to go (though the antenna method is being forced on people like me). Stations need to figure this out or their viewership will shrink more than it has now.
 

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The broadcasters have to deal with the fact that the way we "consume" media has changed drastically in the past 50 years. We went from having one television in the home with the programming on one of three broadcast networks plus maybe 1-2 independent stations to where we have multiple televisions in the home plus mobile phones and tablets for watching programming. Missed an episode? No more several month wait for a rerun, just stream it! And, what is the most talked about programs? Most likely on a streaming service now. We have seen the rise and fall of physical media alternatives (Beta, VHS, DVD, BluRay) and their distribution methods (video rental store, video selection at the store).

Also, our lives have dramatically changed in the past 50 years. I'm in a middle of a major project at work, and I told my neighbor (a major Dallas Cowboys fan) that I won't be able to drop by for the Sunday games until November. I only have one day off at the moment, and I need that day for myself to run errands and do chores. Right now, I can't afford that three hour slice out of my weekend when I can watch the highlights on nfl.com .
I agree with your first part, things have changed, but I still think there's room for the major networks, especially on a local level because there still really isn't a better source of local news on TV than your local TV station. As for your second part, your day is no different than it was 50 years ago to be honest. People get busy and don't have time for TV or anything. There have been sources of highlights on TV since the 1980s when ESPN ran Sportscenter over and over again a good part of the day and your local channel would show more highlights than they do now. Today it's easier, and you can record your game and watch when you DO have time, but theoretically you could also do that back in the 1980s too with VHS. So I really don't think being too busy to watch TV is anything new.
 

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So, I got my Homerun receiver for my network and.... not good.

View attachment 31728

Either my antenna needs alignment, or I need a signal booster. DFW has more than two OTA channels.
I moved my antenna around and depending on the direction, I got some channels and not others. The trick was to find the sweet spot. I'm sure you will have one if you keep moving it around.
 
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