Monday, September 6, 2021

Locast Loses Against the Big Networks

I hadn't even used the streaming service Locast for very long, but I liked it. I could watch local TV channels without needing cable or an antenna. The next thing I know I'm getting emails about them losing a court case that involved the "donations". Locast claimed to be a non-profit donation based service. However, if you didn't donate at least $5 a month, they would interrupt the streaming and run an ad talking about the importance of donations. The first email said they were stopping the interruptions and that they hoped I would continue to donate. I planned on doing so. About two hours later, another email came saying they were suspending operations. 

I read up on what was going on. ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX said that Locast was infringing on their copywrite. Locast said it was legally exempt from that law because they are a non-profit. The Judge determined that it would no longer consider Locast a non-profit because of the interruptions asking for donations. The judge felt this was really charging a subscription. Then there was something about them earning more money than they needed to operate. The judge ruled that they were not a non-profit and not exempt from the law. 

If one just goes by the current laws, the judge was correct. Locast seemed to be taking a risk being aggressive for donations. However, Locast was a good thing for my family. I would need an expensive antenna to pick up the local stations, and it would have to be installed. This is without knowing how well it would work. 

Many people have antenna access to the local channels while those in rural areas are forced to buy cable TV if we want the those channels. Then I found out that the reason cable TV is so expensive is because the ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX are charging cable companies a lot of money to carry them. That's why they had an issue with Locast. Yet I wondered, don't they want more people watching their shows and commercials? Why limit people from seeing the advertising? Would that not mean more money for them?

Apparently, not enough. I also read that they are charging Cable TV high prices because they need the money due to so many people watching all the premium channels like Netflix, Disney +, Amazon Prime, ETC. 

I tried the Xfinity app for local channels, but it didn't work. At first, I tried it with the ROKU, but it said it cannot support my video service within this app. I have the Xfinity Flex as well. Switched over to it, and it said it wasn't available with my current service and I needed to call them. In other words, more money for an upgrade.  

So, I'm not sure if I'm getting an antenna. One problem is that there is only one good spot for the TV in the living room, and it's not by a window. This means some sort of installation to get a cord from the antenna to the TV. I have no plans to go back to Cable. If anything, I'm going for HBO Max this winter and probably Netflix again. 

My adult kids only stream as well. They have zero interest in local channels. If other people are like us, could this eventually mean an end to Local stations? Are they not hurting themselves? I have one local channel on Sling, and I'm getting used to not having the others. 

1 comment:

  1. I don't get much with antennae either so it's good I can use the XFinity app on my Roku. It kind of stinks that we got rid of rooftop antennae because these digital ones don't work very well at all. Basically unless you're in line-of-sight of a station it won't come in very well.