Despite looming copyright suits, Locast continues to grow and provide new features to its over-the-top, non-profit streaming service.
On Wednesday, Locast announced the arrival of three new functions: user profiles, favoriting, and closed captioning. This allows each individual watching Locast on a given device to tailor their viewing experience to their liking.
Users can set up their own profiles in the top right corner of Locast’s user interface. There, you can add a new profile, set your name, and start selecting favorites.
Setting favorites is accomplished by simply tapping the heart icon by the network’s logo on the guide. There doesn’t seem to be a limit as to how many favorites a profile can have.
The final new feature is closed captioning, which can be turned on or off based on the active profile. Locast users will likely see prompts for these new features on their next login, as shown below.
Locast’s mission is to “increase the accessibility and availability of free over-the-air broadcasts via the internet” and these new changes show just that — with the addition of closed captioning being the most accessible option of the bunch. However, in their mission to make broadcasts accessible to all, they’ve incurred the wrath of some TV giants.
ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox have all attacked the service, claiming it is in violation of copyright laws. In their joint 2019 lawsuit, the networks argue that when Locast retransmits their signals, it strips out vital information, including Nielsen codes that are used to measure ratings, and argue over Locast's designation as a “nonprofit organization.” Locast, in turn, countersued the broadcasting giants, accusing the networks of collusion.
Locast is free to download and watch, but is practically unusable without making a “recommended” monthly donation of $5, as the service will boot users who haven’t donated out of whatever they’re watching every 15 minutes. That being said, you can still download Locast on most mobile app and streaming player stores, including the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, Roku, Amazon, DirecTV, and more.