4 years ago, the Supreme Court hammered nails into the coffin of the Aereo television service that captured local over-the-air TV stations on tiny antennas and streamed them to laptops and mobile phones for a subscription fee.
The nation's highest court said, in a 6-3 vote, that Aereo violated federal laws and shut it down.
Philly.com writes that now, the idea of streaming local TV stations is back from the dead and in a new form — with a Washington lobbyist and lawyer who likes to poke Big Media, and Comcast Corp., in the eye.
David Goodfriend, the lawyer with a private tech backer who advocates for cord cutting, launched Locast as a "digital translator" service in Philadelphia on Monday to stream local television stations over the internet to computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, and even to traditional televisions through its Roku app. It offers 15 over-the-air stations in the Philadelphia market, including NBC10, CBS3, Fox 29, and 6ABC.
"It's working great," Goodfriend said Monday morning of Locast, now available in seven major TV markets. "You should download the app."
The Locast app is available for Apple's iOS, Google's Android, and Roku operating systems.
Although the courts shut down Aereo as violating federal law, Goodfriend says that a provision in the 1976 Copyright Act allows a nonprofit to boost television signals so that people could watch local television broadcasters — though even he admits that no one has tried this before and Comcast-owned NBC and others could attempt to shut him down through the courts. Goodfriend says he is boosting the broadcast TV signals — only over the internet and not over-the-air.
Because it's a nonprofit organization, Locast (which stands for local broadcast) will not charge subscriptions for its streaming service but instead operate on a public-television model and seek donors and benefactors, Goodfriend said. In addition to traditional payment methods, the organization also accepts cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum, and litecoin.
Locast has been available already in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Boston, Houston, and Denver.