You can watch local TV online right now, for free, assuming you live in New York City, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, or Denver.
Locast offers access to major networks like ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. Verify your location and you can sign up for the free service, which features a channel guide full of all the local broadcast TV stations in your city. You can watch in your browser at locast.org or by downloading the free Android app.
The service bills itself a “digital translator.” Broadcasters use translators to repeat TV signals; Locast claims to be doing the same thing for Internet users. Users have to verify their location in order to use Locast, which is probably key to the entire legal strategy here.
Locast is run by the non-profit Sports Fans Coalition NYC, which advocates for fan-friendly broadcast rules. There doesn’t seem to be a revenue model, and I can’t help but wonder how long it takes for broadcasters to sue the service into oblivion. In the meantime, however, people in a major US cities can watch TV for free, including a number of high-profile NFL games.
Our thanks to Luke Bouma at Cord Cutters News for pointing this service out to us.
If you don’t live in a supported city, don’t worry: you can basically build your own version complete with a DVR. Just set up Plex’s DVR service and can watch live TV anywhere.