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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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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.
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.)
 

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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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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.
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.

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

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.
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. If the above prediction proves true, it's certainly reasonable that the US public by the early 2040s no longer finds the current OTA TV system to be a worthwhile use of that spectrum.
 

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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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Wow ... This thread has moved from the death of the latest service to attempt to retransmit locals without paying royalties to the death of the stations they carry.
 

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Wow ... This thread has moved from the death of the latest service to attempt to retransmit locals without paying royalties to the death of the stations they carry.
I can believe it. Except for football and Nascar, I have not turned on a local station for over a year. If they were to go 4KHDR, I might watch some programming just for the experience, but 720p??? Forget it. I still watch mainly linear cable channels, YouTube, HBOMax and Disney+, in that order.
 

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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 .
 

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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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Top rated series of 2020-21 (adults 18-49) ... ESPN's Monday Night Football at #3, NFL Network Thursday Night Football tied for #6, Comedy Central's South Park tied for #15. Otherwise all OTA network shows until one gets down to #30. Top shows of 2020-21 (total viewers) ... ESPN and NFL Network football and nothing else that isn't OTA in the top 70.

OTA TV isn't dead yet. "Oh, but it will be in 20 years"? Possibly, but for now the OTA networks are in a good position.
 

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Yeah, OTA is still a pretty good source of entertainment. In my case it seems all that I record is on OTA and even there, the most recordings are from the CW. Did record some golf from the weekend and a bit of football too. Otherwise all the channels are pretty much duds for me, and that includes the slew of ‘cable’ channels that most often only have one or two shows of interest in any given week, the rest being filled in with drivel and reruns.
 

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Top rated series of 2020-21 (adults 18-49) ... ESPN's Monday Night Football at #3, NFL Network Thursday Night Football tied for #6, Comedy Central's South Park tied for #15. Otherwise all OTA network shows until one gets down to #30. Top shows of 2020-21 (total viewers) ... ESPN and NFL Network football and nothing else that isn't OTA in the top 70.

OTA TV isn't dead yet. "Oh, but it will be in 20 years"? Possibly, but for now the OTA networks are in a good position.
OK, but the ratings you're citing are really only comparing how popular broadcast network shows are versus cable network shows within the same year. Given that significantly more homes have access to the broadcast networks than they do to cable networks (given the use of OTA antennas), that finding isn't all that surprising. If your argument is that the broadcast networks/OTA TV will outlast the cable channel bundle, OK, I wouldn't disagree.

The problem for both broadcast and cable networks is that their overall ratings have been in decline for years now as Americans spend their screen time in other ways: streaming video, social media, and gaming.

This article has lots of charts that illustrate the fade of traditional TV, both broadcast and cable, in the past few years. (Disregard the stuff about AM/FM radio):

The State Of TV: Cord Cutting, Viewership Declines, And Older Audiences Mean Advertisers Need AM/FM Radio For Incremental Reach And The Light TV Viewer - Westwood One

Here are a couple more articles expounding on the issue:

Five Years of Network Ratings Declines, Explained - The Hollywood Reporter

The Grim TV Ratings Reality of 2020 - The Hollywood Reporter
 

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OK, but the ratings you're citing are really only comparing how popular broadcast network shows are versus cable network shows within the same year.
Somehow I think that if I gave numbers for the past 10 years you would say they were out of date and the market has shifted. One has to pick a time period. The last year seems fair to both OTA and cable.

The problem for both broadcast and cable networks is that their overall ratings have been in decline for years now as Americans spend their screen time in other ways: streaming video, social media, and gaming.
Lower (I have not verified) but still leading the market.

26% of "TV" time is spent on streaming services. 64% is spent on network and cable channels. The sky may be falling, but most are watching the sky fall on broadcast TV.
 

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KXTV/KOVR tower - Wikipedia:

Built in 1986, it is the tallest structure in California, the third-tallest guyed mast in the world (as of 2001), and the seventh tallest structure to have ever existed if the destroyed Warsaw radio mast, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the Shanghai Tower in Shanghai and the Tokyo Sky Tree in Tokyo are included.
 

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Somehow I think that if I gave numbers for the past 10 years you would say they were out of date and the market has shifted. One has to pick a time period. The last year seems fair to both OTA and cable.
No, I still don't think you understand the point I was making, which is that those 2020-21 Nielsen ratings you were citing encompass only traditional TV, i.e. broadcast and cable, and only within a single season. They don't show how traditional TV compares to streaming, etc., nor how traditional TV viewership this season compares to past seasons.

So, as I said, if your point is that broadcast shows are currently more popular than cable shows (which is the only thing those ratings indicate), yes, I agree. And maybe that IS the point you were making. It's just not the discussion I thought we were having. Note that the author of the Variety report I cited above believes that cable TV will disappear -- presumably in the 2030s -- before broadcast TV has its last stand in the 2040s. I'd say that prediction jibes with both the point you were making as well as the point I'm making, which is that traditional TV (both broadcast and cable) is attracting fewer and fewer viewers, while other forms of screen-based entertainment account for a growing portion of Americans' free time.

Anyhow, my prediction is that the longstanding system of national networks partnering with local stations will slowly break down as eventually all (or nearly all) video consumption shifts to the internet. Because when it's all online, why do big media companies like Disney (ABC), Comcast (NBCU), ViacomCBS and Fox need to partner (and share revenue) with local OTA stations for distribution?

But local station operators like Sinclair, Nexstar, Scripps, etc. won't go away, they'll just shift to being streaming news providers focused on the local markets they serve, with their 24/7 linear streams and on-demand replays embedded in various apps and UIs. Check out how Tubi, a free ad-supported on-demand video app owned by Fox, has recently added live local news streams from around the country. You might expect them to only be local Fox affiliates but that's not the case; they include some Fox O&O affiliates, as well as local news from various stations owned by Hearst, Cox, and Scripps, some of which are affiliates of ABC, NBC or CBS.

https://help.tubitv.com/hc/en-us/articles/360057397413-About-Live-News-channels-on-Tubi
 
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