How Can I Stream Local News?

While streaming does provide many of the same channel options as cable packages, there are a few key areas where its coverage and capabilities are lacking, and local channel inclusion is at the top of that “what’s missing?” list for many streaming services – particularly for the many millions of subscribers who don’t live within a major metropolitan area. 
 
If you’ve been a cable subscriber for many years, chances are you have taken ready and reliable access to local programming for granted. Whether you’re a dedicated viewer of soap operas and Jeopardy, or most often turn to local channels to keep up with news and sports, these are the networks most of us consider to be the foundation of our television options. With so many of us relying on them for all manner of information and entertainment, why do so many streaming services leave them off the table? Simply put – there is a lot going on behind-the-scenes that makes delivery of major broadcast networks difficult for non-cable providers. 
 
Because so much of our news and sports programming is localized, there is no true blanket option for streaming services to get the programming designed for our market to our television quickly and affordably. Cable providers have already worked out the individualized negotiations, contracts and agreements, following often complex FCC rules. 
 

  • First, the networks themselves work out agreements with affiliate stations, who then partner with cable providers to serve those local signals, and in turn local news, live event programming, and live sports, to their subscribers. 
  • For streaming services to undertake these negotiations can take a significant amount of time and resources, with many only able to offer local channels in a small number of markets, and/or only able to offer live streams from one, two, or three of the “Big Four” networks. 

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So what’s a local channel aficionado to do if they’ve cut the cord and their local programming went with it? Options to consider include:
 

HD Antenna: Television antennas have come a long way from the cumbersome, finicky “rabbit ears” of yesteryear, with sleek, modern options available for less than $20. While the quality of the signals you pick up from OTA (over-the-air) programming can vary quite a bit by location, many viewers find antennas present them with an affordable option for getting one or more major broadcast networks. 


Check Your Zip Code with Your Streaming Provider:Some streaming services offer more local channel availability than others, even beyond major city coverage. If you subscribe to a streaming provider that boasts local channel inclusion, input your zip code to see which local channels are available in your specific market.

Overview of Streaming Services with Live Local News

As streaming providers become increasingly aware of the value subscribers place on local channel inclusion, particularly for watching live local news and sports, we expect that availability will continue to grow. That said, it is important to consider that the pricing will likely grow along with it as these partnerships with local networks can be costly. Below are some popular streaming service providers that currently offer some of the most widespread availability of local channels across a variety of markets…
 

Cable Packages Offering Streaming on the Go for Live News

Staying connected to live news on-the-go for cable subscribers is made possible with TV Everywhere options from top providers. By logging into your account from your computer, tablet, or smartphone, you can access your subscription from just about anywhere with an Internet connection!

Below are some of the top cable providers offering TV Everywhere capabilities…

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Local News Frequently Asked Questions
Can you watch local news on a Smart TV?

While you can watch local news on your Smart TV if you have a subscription, or alternate method that allows for it, the Smart TV in and of itself is not equipped to deliver over-the-air programming – you will still need an HD antenna to pick up those signals.

Do I need an indoor TV antenna, or an outdoor TV antenna?

While a budget-friendly indoor TV antenna may meet your needs if you live within, or close to, a major metropolitan area, the signal strength diminishes the further you are from broadcast towers. Those in rural areas will likely need a pricier outdoor-mounted TV antenna to pick up local channels.

What is Locast?

Locast – short for “Local Broadcast” – streams local channels for free. While its availability is limited to select metropolitan areas, it does present a viable local news streaming option for millions of Americans. To see if Locast is available where you live, check Locast.org.

Can you live stream local news?

Live streams of your local news may be available directly through your streaming provider subscription, enabling you to keep up with local happenings, events, and other programming from any Internet-enabled device. Another option to consider is investing in an HD TV antenna, which can pick up OTA (over-the-air) programming, free of charge. 

What is NewsON?

NewsON is a free service that provides access to live newscasts from more than 200 stations across the US. In addition to live news, the NewsON app also allows users to access previous, recent newscasts at no cost. 

What is Haystack News?

Haystack News, available from Haystack TV, is a free resource for both local and world news. This award-winning app offers users access to news from more than 300 channels, with an option to “favorite” channels helping the app to provide you content tailored to your interests.

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