Locast recently updated its Android app with support for tablets and also Android TV.
The latter of which makes it ideal for compatible device owners to take advantage of the service in more of a natural setting – in front of the TV.
For those new to Locast, the general idea is to make locally broadcast channels easier to access.
The service looks to achieve this by removing the various signal hurdles that are typically in place when using an antenna. Locast streams these channels over the internet instead.
There are some caveats though and the first is location support.
Being a service that focuses on local content, users are only able to get access to the channels that are in their immediate area. What’s more, the service is still very much in its infancy and therefore is only available in a very select few locations.
Currently, Locast can be accessed in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC.
Users outside of these areas will find the app and service is largely useless to them. Those users will be able to download the app, but beyond launching, the app will remain inaccessible without signing in which acts as the verification method for location support.
Another aspect to keep in mind is the cost. Accessing local broadcast channels via traditional cord-cutting means is free beyond the costs associated with purchasing the equipment, such as an antenna.
Technically, Locast is also a free service as it does not charge users a fee for access. As long as you live in a supported area you can download the app and start watching.
However, Locast does encourage users to donate to support the service’s expansion including reaching new TV markets in the U.S.
As these are donations there’s no obligation to pay although a number of comments on the Google Play Store app listing do point out that the service routinely stops viewing to display what is effectively an ad asking to donate.
Some of the comments suggest these ‘please donate’ ads are extremely aggressive in how often they appear. For example, many comments note the ad is shown every 5-15 minutes when watching. In each case, the ad completely stops the feed.
For those who do opt to donate to support the service, donations seem to start at as little as $5. Although it should be pointed out this is a recurring donation so basically you will be expected to pay the $5 each month for continued access.
The website also notes there’s an additional 50 cents processing fee “added to each donation.”
Locast is technically a not-for-profit service which is why it relies on the donation model in the first place. According to Locast, the donations are simply used to cover operational costs involved with providing the service to consumers.
The Android TV support seems to be platform-wide with all the major devices listed as supported and as this is an extension of support, users can download the app to their smartphones as well.
You can find out more about Locast or download the latest version with Android TV support included (updated April 26) for free from the Google Play Store.