Today, Locast announced compatibility with Vizio SmartCast TVs. The live, non-profit streaming service provides offers local channels over the internet in 36 U.S. markets.
Once you download and install the Locast app on your Vizio SmartCast TV, you will be required to activate it.
- Leave the activation screen up on your TV.
- Go to www.locast.org on a phone, computer or other device connected to the same internet network in your home and click Login (to the right of the bell icon).
- Once you are logged in, click Activate near the top left of the page next to the Live TV Guide.
- Enter the activation code and click the orange SUBMIT button.
- Within a few seconds, your TV will refresh to display your Locast Live TV Guide.
To access the Locast app on your Vizio SmartCast TV, press the input button and choose the SmartCast input, or press the V key or Home key near the center of your Vizio remote. The Locast app will be displayed in the app row of SmartCast Home or in the apps screen.
Locast now reaches more than half the U.S. population, and as of last report, had 2.8 million registered users. While the service is technically free, it is more or less unusable unless you donate $5.50 monthly for access to your channels. Without a donation, your stream stops every 15 minutes.
They recently launched a program called Locast Cares that will give one year of free access to those who cannot donate financially.
The 36 markets carrying the service are:
- Los Angeles
- New York
- Puerto Rico
- Rapid City
- San Francisco
- Sioux City
- Sioux Falls
- Tampa Bay
- Washington DC
- West Palm Beach
Since July 2019, Locast has been battling ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox, which claim the service is in violation of copyright laws. In their lawsuit, the networks argue that when Locast retransmits their signals, it strips out vital information, including Nielsen codes that are used to measure ratings. In addition, the networks also claim that if Locast is truly a nonprofit, and not helping AT&T and Dish, then there is no reason to require registration or gather its own consumer data — both of which Locast currently does.
In a filed countersuit, Locast has accused ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS of collusion. Locast claimed the networks interfered in a potential partnership with YouTube TV by disallowing it to provide access or Google would be “punished by the big four broadcasters.” The broadcasters — which own cable channels such as ESPN, Bravo, Fox News, and Showtime — could band together and pressure Google as well as other pay-TV operators by refusing to sell their cable channels, Locast suggested.
Locast says that a trial may occur in the second half of the year.
Locast is a live TV streaming service offering access to local TV affiliates in 36 markets. The service has been suspended because of a legal fight with broadcasters. Whether or not it returns, viewers have other options to watch local channels for free.
While the service could be used for free, users who didn’t pay for the membership tier would get a prompt to donate every 15 minutes. After the prompt, users were kicked back to the home screen and booted off the channel they were watching.
Locast could be viewed within Sling TV on select devices.