Last night AT&T announced that they are adding Locast to DIRECTV and U-verse. Sadly you won’t find Locast built into DIRECTV NOW but you can add Locast to Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, and many other streaming players. This will allow AT&T customers in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Washington, Houston, Boston, Denver, and Baltimore to stream their local ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC for free. AT&T also will continue to offer its complimentary Local Channel Connector service when a local station is otherwise unavailable. The Local Channel Connector captures stations’ over-the-air digital signals via a free digital broadcast antenna and enables customers to select channels using the program guide.
AT&T’s move to add Locast to DIRECTV NOW and U-verse gives AT&T more leverage when negotiating with local TV stations. Now if there are a blackout AT&T customers in several major markets can just switch over to Locast to continue enjoying their local TV.
Locast launched back in early 2018 offering access to 15 stations including ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. Locast parent company Sports Fans Coalition is a nonprofit and says they have an exception in the FCC rules that allows them to air locals without paying them for the service. They are hoping to be protected by Title 17, Chapter 1, section 111 a) 5 of the Copyright Act a section that allows non-profits to avoid many of the fees companies would typically pay.
The Sports Fan Coalition New York was created for the purpose of launching Locast and is headed by David Goodfriend. The question now is how will broadcasters react to this new service, but Goodfriend is no stranger to pushing back against broadcasters and the NFL.
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