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The latest Tablo news along with tips to maximize your free TV experience. 

Locast Alternatives for Live Local TV


When we first wrote about the local broadcast channel streaming service Locast in 2019, we were hopeful that its non-profit status would provide protection against the legal challenges it faced from broadcasters. Unfortunately, things have not gone well for Locast this week. First, it was dealt a huge legal blow then the ‘donation’ option was removed before the Locast service was suspended on Sep 21, 2021. In this article, we explore a few of the Locast alternatives for you to continue accessing free local live TV.

Locast Alternatives

What are some of the Locast Alternatives?

Locast Alternative #1 – An Over-the-Air TV Antenna

OTA antenna hiding window

The best alternative to Locast is an Over-the-Air TV antenna.

If you’ve tried one before and didn’t get great results, don’t be discouraged. It’s worth trying again.

Before you do, take a bit of time to research the type of antenna you need, choose a reputable model that doesn’t make wild promises and ensure it’s installed in an optimal location for reception.

If you need some professional help picking an antenna, quality manufacturers like Antennas Direct, Mohu, Winegard and Antop offer searchable online databases and 1-800 help lines.

You can also check out antenna reviews and tips from Tyler The Antenna Man on YouTube or call in a professional antenna installer who’ll ensure your setup is rock solid.

Going this route is the most cost effective over the long term and gives you options like adding an OTA DVR for recording and/or streaming to mobile devices.

Locast Alternative #2 – When OTA Is Not An Option

OTA line of sight

Unfortunately, for those who are 70+ miles away from local broadcast towers, live in valleys, or are dealing with other obstructions, Locast was the most affordable alternative to watching local channels without a TV antenna.

While YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, fuboTV and DirecTV Stream all offer cord cutters access to local channels, you’ll pay at least $64.99/month for the privilege. And you won’t get any of the super fun subchannels that way either.

At almost $800/year + taxes, you can clearly see why it’s worth making the one-time investment in an Over-The-Air setup.

Locast Alternative #3 – Lightweight Options

NewsOn app
If you just need local news, apps like NewsOn, LocalNow and VUit can help fill the gap.

A subscription to Paramount+ will get you CBS content and Peacock will get you NBC but each will cost you $9.99/month for access to a single channel.

If you’re a fan of the neat subchannels that Locast provided, a handful are also available as channels on your favorite streaming platforms like Comet, Buzzr and Bounce.

While final judgements in the Locast case aren’t expected until later this winter, it seems unlikely that the service will return or that another will take its place which is unfortunate. Those who physically cannot recieve Over-the-Air TV signals deserve a free or low-cost alternative, but broadcasters don’t seem to care.

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How to restart your phone/tablet

Sometimes, just restarting your smartphone or tablet can clear up issues with apps. The links below will provide detailed instructions on how to force close your Tablo app. 

Apple iPhone

Android smartphones 

Most Android smartphones and tablets can be restarted by holding the POWER button and then selecting RESTART or POWER OFF and RESTART from the POWER OPTIONS menu.

NOTE: Newer Samsung devices require you to hold the POWER/SIDE button and VOLUME DOWN to make the POWER OPTIONS menu appear. On the Google Pixel 6, hold the POWER and VOLUME UP buttons.

How to force close your Tablo app?

Sometimes, just restarting the app can fix things. The links below will provide detailed instructions on how to force close your Tablo app. 

Apple iPhone/iPad

Android smartphones/tablets 

Need help with the final steps?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.  Follow the steps in the video below for a full walkthrough of the remaining parts of the Tablo setup process.

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This is an estimate only. Actual broadcast TV channels received may vary based on TV antenna location, reception, topography, and other obstructions. Streaming channels require an internet connection. View the Channel Details Report for specifics of each channel and to help determine what antenna is needed. 

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