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Published on October 6th, 2018 | by Brad Gibson

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Bring It! Locast for Apple TV

It’s rare when we write a ‘Bring It’ article knowing full well an app is a guaranteed lock for Apple TV.

We wish we could say the same for all of our suggested apps, but when certain developers don’t even have the professional decency to respond to our requests for a comment like the people at TuneIn, (yes, that reference was deliberate), we’re often reduced to hoping with little evidence.

That’s not the case with Locast. On Thursday, we reported on their progress to bring local U.S. TV broadcast channels streaming over the Internet for free. Its director and leader, David Goodfriend, confirmed for us a native tvOS app is in the works and will be released by the end of the year (maybe even before December 1). Even before that, the iOS app for iPhone and iPad will be updated to support AirPlay, another acceptable way to wirelessly stream Locast stations to Apple TV.

We cannot overstate the importance of this app and its potential for Apple TV. It’s huge and there’s a lot people – including Apple – who don’t realize it.

Instead of having to buy an antenna and/or a device to bring local channels into your home on your TV or even through Apple TV, Locast will do it directly through a streaming app. If you live in one of the available cities with poor antenna reception but great available Internet, Locast is the perfect answer.

Yes, it’s only available in six U.S. cities at present (with Philadelphia and Washington, DC coming soon) and it stringently locks people out not living in those markets from watching, but the nonprofit group Sports Fan Coalition New York has ambitious plans to spread across the nation and add dozens more cities.

Think about it…you’ll watch LOCAL TV without special equipment and without paying a dime! It sounds unthinkable in this day of paying through the nose for TV through streaming services, satellite and cable, but in reality, this ability shouldn’t be a privilege but a right.

Goodfriend should know. He’s fought tooth-and-nail to uphold the right of American consumers to watch local stations…a right that was given to us through the Communications Act of 1934.

That law might be tested in the future as many believe streaming local channels without permission and/or not paying a fee to broadcasters could be illegal. So far, there have been no lawsuits and Goodfriend is ready to fight back if it happens. As we see it, Goodfriend is a good friend (pardon the pun) for U.S. consumers and we’re behind his efforts 100 percent.

Our hope is that Apple TV users (and Apple) will embrace Locast, support its efforts through a donation online (regardless if their market is presently available), and help protect everyone’s right to watch local TV. After all, WE OWN THE BROADCAST AIRWAVES!

Climbing off my soapbox, here’s a little about the app that is currently available for Roku, its abilities, and what we hope for moving forward on Apple TV.

The Roku app is clean and simple. Sign up, log in, select a city, browse through the built-in listings (that are free, by the way), select a channel or currently available program, and you’re streaming.

Adding things like rewind or cloud recording capabilities will probably be out of the question as they would seriously put into question copyright law. But we can think of some simple additions that would add functionality and simplicity.

Among them include a future program reminder that would send an email, text message or even a pop-up while watching something else on Apple TV. Other future features we would like to see include…

  • Support for closed captioning.
  • Picture-in-picture of two channels.
  • Local weather conditions and forecast.

But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. Locast is in its infancy and is a non-profit with a tight budget. Having said that, its potential is frankly unlimited.

Our real hope is that Apple will get behind this effort and integrate Locast content from local stations into its TV App.

Developers tell us Apple is picking and choosing which high-profile broadcasters it allows to play ball and list content on the TV app. Bluntly put…Locast should be one of them. The reasons why Apple would and would not want to include Locast.org are too detailed to explain in this article.

Suffice it to say, if Apple isn’t going to create their own live streaming service like DirecTV Now or Sling TV (which it certainly appears they are not), they should embrace free, local and live streaming from Locast.org. If they don’t, they have an obligation to explain why. Tim Cook…wake up, and support this effort! It’s in your best interest.

It should be clear by now that BESTAppleTV supports what Locast.org is doing. It not only makes sense, but its efforts are supported by U.S. law. Until someone or something challenges this and wins, what Locast is doing is legal and our right to watch. This technology shouldn’t be questioned but embraced.

 

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About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of BESTAppleTV.com. He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as MacNN.com, MacObserver.com, MacCentral.com, MacMinute.com, and Macworld.com. He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the Associated Press and United Press International.



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