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Roku Adds Free NBCUniversal Local News Channels

If you are a cord-cutter looking for local news but don’t want to connect an antenna to your TV, Roku’s partnership with NBC Universal Local may be just the ticket.

Roku NBC Universal Local Channel Guide

Although cord-cutting is not without its issues, it is still stealing a lot of viewers away from cable and satellite. However, in order to get back local TV channels, often you need to connect an attenna to your TV and hope that your TV reception is good enough to get those channels back. 

However, if the only reason you need local channel access is to watch live local news, some stations around the country do offer apps on Roku (and other streaming devices) that allow you access some of their news content.

Roku & NBCUniversal Local

To provide viewers with easy access (you don’t have to hunt for individual station apps), Roku has announced a new partnership with NBCUniversal Local to bring several NBC local news channels to its popular Roku Channel’s live TV Guide.

Roku Live TV from Home Menu

Through the partnership, NBCUniversal Local will bring local news channels from its NBC stations from major markets around the United States via The Roku Channel.

Channels arriving on The Roku Channel include: 

  • NBC New York News 
  • NBC Los Angeles News 
  • NBC Chicago News 
  • NBC Philadelphia News 
  • NBC Dallas Ft. Worth News 
  • NBC Washington, D.C. News 
  • NBC Connecticut News 
  • NBC South Florida News 

Additional NBCUniversal Local channels will be added to The Roku Channel’s Live TV Guide in the coming months. This partnership with marks the first time that local news programming will be available for users on The Roku Channel. 

From Ashley Hovey, Head of The Roku Channel: “Audiences are increasingly opting to consume news through streaming, and local news has consistently been one of the top-requested categories by our users… we’re excited to work with NBCUniversal Local and the NBC Stations to expand our relevant live TV offering for streamers and to bring news from multiple major cities to millions of viewers across the country to easily access and enjoy.” 

From Meredith McGinn, Executive Vice President of Diginets and Original Production, NBCUniversal Local:Local news has never been more vital to helping our audiences stay informed about what’s happening in their communities…We look forward to bringing our NBC local news channels and our stations’ best-in-class journalism to the millions of people The Roku Channel reaches and to launching more of our NBC local news channels to expand streamers’ access to our local news content.” 

The NBC local news channels will feature the latest local news, breaking updates, weather forecasts, & live events from that designated area. The addition of the channels will complement The Roku Channel’s existing lineup of national news options, which includes NBC News Now.

NBCUniversal Local

NBC Universal Local Logos

NBCUniversal Local delivers English and Spanish speakers and bilingual audiences in 31 U.S. markets and Puerto Rico, the very best in local sports, news, weather, consumer and investigative reporting, and lifestyle entertainment across any platform and screen. 

The division consists of three media groups:

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  • NBC Owned Television Stations
  • NBC Sports Regional Networks
  • Telemundo Station Group. 

The Roku Channel

The Roku Channel On-screen menu

The Roku Channel is a free, ad-supported linear TV app. The Roku Channel’s Live TV guide features more than 300 linear channels across news, sports, music, and entertainment to enjoy. 

In addition to linear TV, the Roku Channel also features more than 80,000 free movies and programs, as well as Premium Subscription options from over 50 content partners. 

The Roku Channel is not only available on Roku devices, but on Web browsers, iOS/Android devices, Amazon Fire TV, and select Samsung TVs. It can be accessed in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.

More NBC local news channels are expected to arrive on The Roku Channel in the coming months. If this partnership proves successful, you may see live local TV options from other networks coming to Roku and the Roku Channel. 

For more information about Roku visit roku.com.

What About NextGen TV?

ATSC 3.0 NextGenTV Logo

What is interesting is that just as local live TV is making moves into the streaming space, the U.S. is in the midst of a slow transition to ATSC 3.0/NetGen TV over-the-air broadcasting that is bringing advanced features to TVs viewers via an antenna (at the TV station’s discretion) including support for:

  • 4K UHD resolution, as well as HD and SD (digital) simulcasting. 8K broadcasting may also be possible.
  • HDR and Wide Color Gamut.
  • Up to 120Hz frame rate. 
  • 3D video transmission option. 
  • Immersive audio (Dolby Atmos/DTS:X), multiple language tracks, and other audio enhancements.
  • Over-the-air and broadband transmission of programming and supplementary content to mobile and Internet-enabled devices. This gives TV broadcasters the ability to provide “second screen” and other services.
  • Improved Weather and Emergency Alert System.
  • Digital Watermarking/Secure Copy-Protection if needed.

The question for the long-term is whether by the time the ATSC 3.0/NextGen TV roll-out is complete will it still be relevant if local broadcasters go full-streaming?

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