LocalBTV Now Available in Cincinnati and Toledo, 20 New Areas Expected Soon
LocalBTV just added Cincinnati and Toledo to its lineup of coverage areas. These additions bring LocalBTV’s reach to 21 total markets, and the service won’t stop there. Plans are in the works to get LocalBTV up to 100 total markets by the end of this yea. Parent company Didja CEO Jim Long says the company is poised to reveal its next 20 markets soon, thanks in large part to a major new partnership effort.
LocalBTV is now available in the following markets:
- Bay Area
- Southern California
- San Diego
- New York City
- Las Vegas
- Palm Beach
For those wondering why LocalBTV can survive when Locast can’t, the answer is shockingly simple: permission. LocalBTV’s slow expansion is due mainly to its primary business model. It gets permission from the individual channels whose content is rebroadcast. It’s also not showing local affiliates of networks like ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC.
Permission isn’t the only issue slowing LocalBTV’s advance, however; the company also cites issues with obtaining chips in the middle of the current ongoing chip shortage for slowing things down. In order to provide its service, LocalBTV depends on a set of edge tuners, as well as servers to accompany them. The server market—indeed, much of the computer market in general—has been slowed by the chip shortage. This leaves LocalBTV limping accordingly, but poised to pick up speed.
Moreover, some channels are more open to providing that permission than others are. For instance, PBS channels are eager for new viewership and, potentially, donors. Smaller-scale channels like foreign language-focused channels and some digital networks are eager to work with LocalBTV as well.
There are flaws with LocalBTV’s plan, though; perhaps the biggest is that it’s really only available to those in the markets in question. For instance, the Chicago LocalBTV is “…for Chicago residents only,” according to the LocalBTV site. Those with an IP address outside the coverage area are unable to access the service. It would have been an interesting change of pace to see what local television looks like in other cities, or states, even countries. But due to the necessities of copyright law, that’s just not an option. Still, what LocalBTV gets is pretty impressive. For instance, turning to the Chicago feed, both Cozi and AntennaTV are available, along with channels like Sidewalks and Diya.
Losing Locast was undoubtedly a blow to the streaming community. Having access to local channels is an important point to many viewers out there, and Locast had those channels in place. LocalBTV’s plan, meanwhile, makes for the best workaround yet. It opens up access to these channels via streaming, yet with the added benefit of not drawing crowds of lawyers.
While there are significant holes in LocalBTV’s lineup—even in those places that can actually get it—the ability to access local channels will certainly prove welcome for streamers. Its further expansion, therefore, should only prove welcome to each new geographic cluster of streamers it hits.