ABC last-man-standing

So When Will More Local Stations Come to DIRECTV NOW, Hulu, & PlayStation Vue? We Answer Your Questions…


Over the last few months almost one thousand over-the-air TV stations from ABC, Fox, CBS and NBC announced that they have struck deals to come to services such as DIRECTV NOW, Hulu, fuboTV, and PlayStation Vue.

Recently during our Q&As on YouTube and Facebook I have been flooded with questions about when these channels will show up.

So we decided to answer the question of why is it taking so long for these services to get access to these CBS, Fox, NBC and ABC affiliates? It turns out to be fairly complicated to stream local TV on a live TV streaming service.

To find out what is happening, Cord Cutters News talked with someone who has worked on a live TV streaming service on the process of streaming local TV stations. This is what they told us about the holdup.

Servers

One big issue is the servers. ABC and other affiliates have strict rules about security on these servers. They want to make sure their live feed won’t easily end up on some pirate site.

This also explains why when demand spikes live TV services can’t just run out and quickly add more server locations to handle the load.

FCC Rules

The FCC also has an old rule that forces streaming services to stream local affiliates from inside their markets. That means if you get a Chicago local ABC it must be streamed from inside Chicago. There has been talk about changing this rule, but as of today that rule remains. So that means services such as DIRECTV NOW and PlayStation Vue need to install servers in these markets.

When Do We Think Locals Will Come to DIRECTV NOW and PlayStation Vue?

If recent history is any example, it is taking three to four months from the announcement before the first wave of locals start to show up. Now that does not mean they will all show up at the same time. It seems like companies are rolling out locals in batches. So if a 100 locals are announced, they may roll out in groups of 20.

PlayStation Vue is a great example of this. When it got rights to a huge batch of CBS affiliates, it started to roll them out in groups of 20 at a time over the course of a month.

We are likely just now seeing the first roll outs of what will likely be a flood of locals over the next few months.

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  • JeffO

    Id like to see Sling TV add them too

    • Vegas Steve

      No, please no! Leave us at least one service that we antenna users can go with.

  • Roy Ashley

    I hate these “Answer Your Question” articles. It’s just a lot of fluff, that ends in “coming soon”, which is somewhat obvious.

    • BrianH1972

      The editor is not Nostradomas. Nobody said we would like the answer. All he is doing is sharing what he knows and based on what he is hearing and what has happened in the past. When you keep hearing the same questions I see nothing wrong with trying to answer based on what you know.

      • Roy Ashley

        As I said, I’m referring to these articles, not the editor/writer. Plenty of previous articles on here say these channels should be coming soon to different OTT services. It feels more like a “weekly round-up/wrap-up” article, not one giving us new answers.

        • Eh? I agree that a lot of them are repetitive, but this one’s purpose isn’t to list new availability of stations or to announce a new agreement.

    • carl_steve

      The reader comments that follow the articles in this newsletter add as much perspective (if not more so) as the articles themselves. For instance, reading the posts about the technical hurdles, FCC rules, etc. that must be overcome to stream local channels explains why local roll-out is slow and has cost issues. It also helps explain Sony’s price increase for Vue. Articles, like this one, spark a lot of discussion, which adds to the value of my subscription.

      I just hope the addition of locals doesn’t lead to price wars between the station owners and the streaming operators. I’ve seen that too often in my area when the cable and satellite operators dropped (or threatened to drop) one or more channels because contract negotiations broke down.

  • mnsportsgeek

    AT&T already stated in a press release that they will be adding more locals by the end of August. I hope that means NBC in Minneapolis since YouTube TV is launching with it shortly.

    • Nathan John Ganiere

      yep hoping the same, did find something funny and ironic about locals though in MN, with the HULU LIVE TV beta………they now added KEYC CBS affiliate here in southern Minnesota, which is more local to my location than the Minneapolis one, but yet when I do a listing search on HULU site all it shows is the CBS from the Twin Cities not the one in Mankato………KEYC appears like it’s only local to Mankato itself…….

      • Nathan John Ganiere

        must just not be what they consider close enough, Eagle Lake just outside of it does get KEYC

        • Nathan John Ganiere

          must just be out of range by one city, LOL the neighboring city towards that direction gets it…….

  • Sunny Rain

    Actually the issue with streaming local affiliates in their markets isnt that they have to install servers in the market. It’s because they need to load their system with millions of coordinates to identify the map region covered by the affiliate. That’s the most difficult part. But they don’t need to physically install a server in that market. The only server they need is for sending the stream to the central server.

    The other problem we were told is that some of the local affiliates have a very outdated technology which isn’t anywhere ready for streaming. Like in some cases, you have someone who literally has to push a button to switch to commercials or load a show. So, most of the affiliates are not prepped for prime time at all.

    • pjsauter

      As long as any delays don’t prevent PS Vue from raising my monthly fee $10 whether I get locals or not. 😉

  • Mike Stambaugh

    Good info Luke. I was gonna ask how locals work. Cause I’m in NC and Ive never got one local with Vue or DTVn. I get the apps for big 4, but no local news ect. Yes I do through an antenna, but I’m rarely sitting down at 4:59 to catch the 5 o’clock news. I’d like the rewind option with DTVn to watch them if if start late.

  • James Dandy

    It’s a non-issue if you have an antenna. Yes, it’s a little less convenient using two sources but I seriously doubt any streaming service will be able to provide ALL the locals you can receive with an antenna anytime soon, if ever.

    • Sam

      Many streaming customers live in areas that do not receive an OTA signal. I’m one of them. 🙁

      • Vegas Steve

        And I don’t think anyone is begrudging you wanting those channels, just that you should pay for them. We who have antennas don’t want to pay (i.e., subsidize) those of you who don’t.

        • Phuq_Me

          wrong these broadcaster get their spectrum for free. The same spectrum cellular companies have just paid BILLIONS for. The spectrum belonging to the American people. Now if the broadcaster get it for FREE then why should the American taxpayer have to pay for it?

          • Vegas Steve

            If you’re talking about the cable/sat companies getting the OTA to re transmit for free, they don’t… they have to pay the OTA channels now. If you’re talking about how the OTA get over on the taxpayers, then yeah, ok, lol.

          • Phuq_Me

            I know cable/sat don’t. I’m talking say you local NBC station paid NOTHING for the spectrum they use to broadcast their signal. Yet they charge cable/sat for the right to re-transmit. Well the airwaves belong to the people and since the people were nice enough to hand this spectrum to your local NBC station for FREE they should be kind enough to allow cable/sat companies to re-transmit it for free. Or they can pay for the spectrum.

          • Vegas Steve

            Well, because they were handed the spectrum, they must provide a free OTA signal, so there’s your trade off. The difference to me being that cable/sat make money off providing OTA channels, so it doesn’t seem unreasonable that the OTA channels get a cut. How much they should get is up for debate. Just imho.

    • Phuq_Me

      Not everyone can get in all the channels with antenna. Yes I can get in ABC( ans CBS on subchannel that is in crappy SD ) and PBS, But Fox, NBC, CW and CBS( in HD ) are near impossible to get in even with large outdoor antenna mounted on the roof. When most of your “local’ channels are 75 miles away that is what happens.

      • Eric Krause

        Are you in the Elmira, NY market?

        • Phuq_Me

          No why would that matter.

          • Eric Krause

            Just curious. My dad lives in that area and they have a very similar situation with CBS being on a sub-channel of the ABC affiliate.

  • I may be in the minority here but TBH I hope sling doesn’t get the locals. If they do you can bet the bill will go up by $7-$10/month. Why pay more when you can get them for Free?

    • Sunny Rain

      Sling already includes the price of the locals. All the other streaming services charge you for locals whether you get them live or not. PS Vue is the only one that had chosen to not charge people who don’t get majority of locals. And that was a huge mistake.

      • That may be the case ATM but the fees that local broadcasters charge cable / satellite subscribers for access continues to go up. For example, it costs the cable company $7 to get all the local channels to our area and is separated from the “cost” in the bill. In fact, just recently, we lost NBC for a day over disputes with comcast and the local channels.

        http://www.rcn.com/hub/about-rcn/programming-costs/

  • Zach Jones

    If you are waiting for your local affiliate to jump on board with live streaming, contact the general manager of those local affiliates. I contacted the GM of the NBC/Fox affiliate for my region and he was pretty quick to respond, stating the parent company was in negotiations with various streaming services and would most likely be rolled out in late August or early September. The ABC affiliate never got back with me, bit I can assume they will do the same.

  • Vegas Steve

    So since in these sorts of stories, SlingTV is never mentioned, is it safe to say the SlingTV aren’t pursuing locals? Hope so, got an antenna that does just fine.

  • Mike Thaler

    I think if these streaming services want to make a “run” at getting people to dump cable, they will need to make ALL locals in an area available. OTH, they should be offered as an optional package. I want/need locals, why I didn’t even bother at trying Sling. Would try Hulu IF Roku were operational w. them. Just joined crowd, here, and am trying Google/YT.