Evoca Launches Early-Access Program to Bring Cable Channels OTA Using ATSC 3.0
With the growth of Live TV Streaming Services the last few years, like Hulu Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV, all have leveraged internet streaming to bring cable channels via your broadband connection. Evoca is trying something a bit different.
The company, which will launch their early-access program on September 1st, is bringing HD over-the-air television combining traditional free OTA channels and those you would traditionally get from cable. To do that, Evoca is using ATSC 3.0, the latest broadcast TV standard, which allows them to bring pay-TV much more efficiently than traditional vMVPDs.
To start, the service will be available to select residents in Boise, Idaho – with the hopes to roll out in the entire market by late-2020. The company told The Streamable that they plan to aggressively expand throughout the Mountain and Southwest regions like Montana, Utah and Nevada in 2021.
Their hope is to serve the 50 million underserved customers in smaller markets, where their cable and streaming options are limited. Those customers may only have the option of a single cable operator and might not have fast enough Internet to reliably stream a service like YouTube TV.
Customers in Boise that can access Evoca will pay $20 a month for the rest of the year, with the service going up to $49 a month in 2021. Part of the reason for the low-price is their channel lineup at this point is pretty limited.
You’ll get all the same channels you would with a traditional antenna like ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, The CW, PBS and various other OTA networks. On top of that, you’ll get some cable networks like A&E, Hallmark, GSN, Lifetime, History and The Weather Channel (a full list is below).
Just like other Live TV Streaming Services, there are no contracts or broadcast TV fees. You’ll also get a free OTA antenna and “Scout” receiver, which is their home-grown set-top box that allows it to integrate both traditional OTA channels and pay-TV.
The box itself supports Live TV, On-Demand and sports a 500GB hard-drive for local storage. While they don’t currently have a DVR, that is on the roadmap – and part of the reason behind the large hard drive. While some will be stored in the cloud, it will allow them to cache recordings on the device.
The Scout receiver also supports OTT apps, but it’s missing most of the big names like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video for now. It has some of the smaller apps like CuriosityStream and Fandango NOW.
For customers, Evoca has to dramatically expand their channel lineup to deliver the same value as services like Philo and Sling TV. Even at $20, the channel selection doesn’t feel robust enough to choose over a Live TV Streaming Service. However, as a technology though, leveraging ATSC 3.0 is an incredible bandwidth savings.
Todd Achilles, CEO of Evoca told us that the same three hour-stream of a sporting event using their technology would only use 5GB of bandwidth for 20K homes. Compared to a traditional Live TV Streaming Service, he says would be thousands times that.
One other benefit is that you won’t get the same delay watching sports as you would from a Live TV Streaming Service. He says that the delay would be somewhere in the middle between cable and a streaming service like Hulu Live TV.
If Evoca is successful in building a pay-TV bundle over OTA, it wouldn’t be surprising if wireless providers follow suit. While 5G has the promise of faster speeds and lower latency, it’s hard to argue the efficiency that ATSC 3.0 brings to streaming video to the masses.
If you’re in Boise, you can check whether you’re eligible for their early access program to lock-in the $20 a month plan through 2020.
Evoca Channel Line-up
|Lifetime Movie Network||Cable|
|Hallmark Movies & Mysteries||Cable|
|The Weather Channel||Cable|
|CBS Sports Network||Cable|
|Game Show Network||Cable|
|Law & Crime||Cable|
|The Weather Channel||Cable|
|World Fishing Network||Cable|