I was unaware of this non-profit entity until now, and hopefully, they will succeed in bringing the major local channels to everyone for free without the need for an OTA antenna. Internet service required, though.
“Locast is bringing the public mission of free, local broadcast to a new generation of cord-cutters and Internet-only video consumers. With the addition of Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD, Locast has now provided almost a third of U.S. television households with a way to watch local broadcast TV, even if you do not subscribe to pay-TV or cannot receive an over-the-air signal.”
Let's just say it costs $5 a month donation to get uninterrupted local tv coverage, which is still a great deal, if not interrupted and the streaming and picture quality is acceptable.
"Why? Because every 15 minutes, the broadcast is interrupted by a request for the membership contribution. Actually, the broadcast isn’t just interrupted — it’s completely stopped. After the plea for money is over, you aren’t returned to your program, but bounced back to the programming grid. If you want to continue to watch your show, you have to click on it again — and say goodbye to any dialogue you may have missed in the meantime. (While I didn’t pony up the $5 requested, judging from user comments for the Android app, members do get to watch shows uninterrupted.)
EVERY 15 MINUTES, THE BROADCAST IS INTERRUPTED FOR A REQUEST FOR THE MEMBERSHIP CONTRIBUTION
If you do choose to donate, you can pay either via credit card, PayPal, or bitcoin. I could find no information on the site about how to cancel a subscription, and the only obvious way to contact the company was through an online form. So if you’ve agreed to a monthly payment and then later change your mind, you can try the form, but if you’re in a hurry, you may need to cancel by stopping payment on your card services."
Yes, the nagging messages stopped after my $1 "donation".
I recall having read a user's account on reddit claiming the nagging messages returned less than a month following his/her donation. The user speculated the donation covered X hours of viewing time. Unverified.
This is where I got the idea to set up a monthly/recurring $1 payment instead of one-time, though I have no idea if this made any difference. I was only watching The Orville on Fox and little else. The nagging messages never returned for me in that month.
Assuming it will become available to people in rural areas, as well as the certain troubled area within cities and suburbs, with poor or non-existant OTA coverage, such people would be the main beneficiaries of this company. Having to buy a cheap or expensive, depending, OTA antenna would be eliminated, and, though I don't know what quality tv picture this app delivers, having a full-screen undistorted picture would be a big improvement over the smaller but clear picture I receive with my OTA antenna. In fact, does anyone know how to get a full-screen undistorted picture on a large screen tv using an OTA antenna, for all my full-screen aspect ratios ( zoom, cinema zoom, 16:9) distort the picture somewhat?
I don't think this is a failure of the antenna. My similar experience with some OTA channels (particularly subchannels) is that they may not be delivering widescreen content. (For example, older programs were created before widescreen existed.).
I believe the standard calls for a marker code to be placed on the program that defines the aspect ratio, and a reasonably intelligent TV should switch automatically to the correct aspect ratio. In my experience, a lot of channels either fail to place the markers correctly, or my TV is not intelligent enough to read the markers correctly, which forces me to poke at aspect ratio controls.
For non-widescreen source material, I think 'zoom' should give you no distortion of the image, but with loss of intended image at the top and bottom of the screen. A poor compromise for most programming, so I usually opt to live with black bars.
I do have a smart tv that will automatically select the best aspect ratio for each program, but there are no local Los Angeles stations that will present in full-screen without some distortion. I believe there are some tv boxes for $100 plus that will, in conjunction with an internet app, allow one to watch OTA programs in full-screen without distortion, but who wants to spend that much to do so. If the "Locast" app can present local channels with a good picture quality over the internet for $5 a month, then more power to them. I've been using Youtube TV for some time and my local channels come with the deal, but the "Locast" option would be nice to have in the future, if it ever gets to rural areas.
If someone were to give up cable TV, what would be a good replacement that was the closest equivalent to cable? No sports is watched. For the local stations an OTA antenna picks up all the local network stations (and subchannels.)
The preference is to have access to live cable television channels, such as cable news, shows and movies, rather than just on-demand streaming.
Don't know which TV stations or channels are "must haves" for you, but another option might be to try the Pluto TV app. Pluto channels are live, completely free, and they also offer lots of movies and on-demand TV shows.
Update: today it was reported that AT&T donated $500,000 to Locast Tv and added it to the AT&T platform. Therefore I thought it was time to give free Locast a try, so I added the app to my Roku and was streaming 47 local LA channels (though I'm a long way from LA) in full screen with HD reception. What's more, I have not once seen the notorious donate screen, nor have I donated, yet. I suspected that AT&T leveraging Locust TV might keep the nagging donate screen at bay for now, which does appear to be the case for now. But one still requires and uses data for "free" tv. But no antenna required.