Over the last few months we have heard reports of hundreds of over-the-air TV stations from ABC and NBC striking deals to come to services such as DIRECTV NOW and PlayStation Vue; however, none of these stations have showed up on any live TV streaming service.
Why is it taking so long for DIRECTV NOW and PlayStation Vue to get access to these 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 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.
The FCC has several rules that make it difficult to stream local stations. You have to carefully make sure only subscribers inside the station’s footprint get that station. The FCC wants to make sure that the big ABC affiliate in Austin or Dallas, Texas, is not killing off smaller ABC affiliates in Waco, Texas, for example. So streaming services have to carefully make sure their system only gives the local affiliate to the right people.
The FCC also has an old rule that forces streaming services to stream that local affiliate from inside their market. 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 services in these markets.
The other big issue is the servers. ABC and others have strict rules about security on these servers. They want to make sure their live feed of ABC 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 some more server locations to handle the load.
No one knows, and we have no special inside information. (This post is about explaining the delay.)
However, an educated guess would say likely in June or July we will start to see more local stations start to flood these live TV services. Again that is an educated guess, but I wanted to do my best to answer a question I know will pop up.
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