Nearly 3 million Locast viewers got a punch in the gut last night. The local TV streaming service is facing a copyright infringement lawsuit by the “Big Four” broadcasters — ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. A judge ruled the case can go to trial. There is a chance that this ruling could sink the service entirely. If you’re currently using Locast, there’s no need to panic. Fortunately, there are many ways to access local channels.
1. Subscribe to a Live TV Streaming Service
There are several streaming services that will give you access to live TV. You can use our live TV streaming matchmaker to find the right streaming service for you, depending on what you would like to watch. Most of these services offer free trials so you can test them out and decide which one you like the best.
DirecTV Stream, fuboTV, Hulu Live TV, YouTube TV, and Sling TV all offer access to live, local channels. A Premium subscription ($9.99 per month) to Paramount+ gives you access to a CBS affiliate channel, while an Essential subscription ($4.99 per month) includes live sports.
|DTV STREAM||fuboTV||Hulu||Philo||Sling TV||YouTube|
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Sling TV specifically builds in functionality for Locast, since it doesn’t include CBS or ABC, but you can get NBC and Fox in owned-and-operated markets.
2. Use an Antenna
Mohu Leaf 30
Up to 30 Mile Range
Mohu Leaf 50
Up to 60 Mile Range
3. Stream Via a Local Channel’s Website
Some local channels will give you free access to their live news broadcast online. Simply head to the channel’s website and look for a “watch live” button. Not all channels allow this, however. You may be required to use a cable TV login to access live streams online.
4. Try LocalBTV
Although this free service is only available in 13 markets, it does allow you to watch 30-40 channels that are otherwise available through an antenna. Unless you love home shopping, old reruns, or Joel Osteen, there isn’t much here. LocalBTV claims “other stations such as the major networks (ABC, NBC, etc) will be available in the future.” The Locast battle may throw cold water on that idea.
One nice thing is that LocalBTV includes a 1 TB cloud DVR, so you can record whatever you like. LocalBTV is available on Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, and Android TV.
LocalBTV is available in:
- Bay Area
- Southern California
- San Diego
- New York
- Las Vegas
5. Stream Local News For Free
NewsOn and DistroTV will allow you to access some local news stations for free. You can use NewsOn in a web browser or download the app on select streaming devices. You can also get some local news through Haystack News, Local Now, or VUit.
Many ad-supported heavyweights like Pluto TV and Tubi also offer some local news replays if you’re in a large market. It’s not the same thing as Locast, but those options provide at least some local coverage.
It’s also possible Locast could prevail in court or try to find some sort of settlement. The appetite for this kind of service is definitely there, it’s just a question of who will provide it and how much it will cost.
VUit is a free video streaming service that includes on-demand access to content produced by local TV news stations around the United States. Its partners include Lilly Broadcasting, Heritage Broadcasting, and Gray Television.
Whether you’re feeling homesick or whether you just want to see what’s going on in another part of the country, VUit can give you a window into several American communities.
Local Now is a free video streaming service that includes on-demand access to movies and TV shows. The service also provides several virtual streaming channels, including newscasts from New York, Denver, Detroit, Cleveland, Kansas City, Nashville, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Diego, and West Palm Beach.
Local Now partners include Newsy, Court TV, Lionsgate, Cinedigm, and People TV.
Stirr is a free video streaming service that includes on-demand access to thousands of hours of TV and movies, along with more than 100 virtual live streaming channels.
In markets where viewers have a Sinclair-owned TV station, users will be able to view local news content.