Locast is a U.S. non-profit streaming television service that allows users to view live streams of over-the-air television stations. These signals are sourced from antennas in each market it serves. All you have to do is sign up online, provide your name and email address, and certify that you live in, and are logging on from, one of the select US cities (“Designated Market Area”).
As of June 3, 2020, the Tampa Bay area is now being served by Locast. From their service area map, the counties considered in this area are Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, Manatee, Sarasota, Hardee, & Highlands Counties. That includes Bradenton, where I am located.
Locast is making 45 channels of locally-broadcast, streaming TV available through its app and at locast.org. The channel lineup is meant to be identical to what is available free over the air with a digital antenna – if you had a pristine signal.
The offerings include local FOX, ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates, several PBS stations, and channels such as CourtTV, MeTV and The Florida Channel, which broadcasts state government proceedings.
You need a broadband Internet connection for optimal performance. Using a laptop, smartphone, or computer connected to the Internet, using your browser go to http://www.Locast.org to sign up. You then can choose which local broadcast station to watch from your Internet-enabled device.
I installed the app on my Roku, my Amazon FireTV, my iPad, and my Android phone. The app will not install on my Chromebook, but I can use my Chrome browser to use Locast.
Using this service is free, but they repeatedly ask for donations of $5 a month or more. When I say repeatedly, I mean every time you change the channel. However, it is like having the best outdoor antenna you could buy. You receive every channel available over the air in the Tampa Bay Area. The ABC station is Tampa’s and not Sarasota, but we are able to get that with a window antenna.