What are my local TV channels?

June 10, 2015
My local tv channel likes to
Yep, I'm watchingStarting US TV & Radio Free in portrait orientation allows you to see the full selection of menu options, some of which disappear in landscape. Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

According to the description shown within the app, it's an aggregator of freely available content: "We collect channels [sic] data from various published sources on Internet. We do not guarantee its correctness and other legal information." There's also a notice offering to take down any channels by request from "owners or producers."

What's interesting, though, is that the app has been around since October 2012, in both the Google Play store and Amazon Appstore.

The US TV & Radio Free app sounds very similar to the . Aereo uses antenna/DVR technology to let consumers watch live, local over-the-air television broadcasts. The service has sparked lawsuits from TV broadcast giants including ABC, CBS (the parent of CNET), Fox, NBC Universal, and Telemundo, which alleged last year that the service infringes their copyrights and that Aereo must pay them retransmission fees.

Starting US TV & Radio Free in portrait orientation allows you to see the full selection of menu options, some of which disappear in landscape.Indeed, some channels (including Disney XD, Spike, and Showtime) flat out don't work. The first time you run the app, a message notes that "several major servers" are down, but the developers are working to get access restored. So for any given channel you want to watch, it's hit-or-miss whether you'll be able to.

That said, I tried the app on a Verizon Samsung Galaxy S4 and a rooted Barnes & Noble Nook HD running Android 4.1. It worked flawlessly on both, allowing me to watch a surprising amount of live-streamed content. The resolution isn't always top-notch, and occasionally you'll hear foreign-language dubbing or see foreign-language subtitles, but for a free app, it works well.

What's more, with a tap of the Record button, it's a simple matter to save any stream for offline viewing (though you can't do this at scheduled times or on a timer, so it's very much a manual procedure).

Also, there's no program guide, so you're pretty much limited to flipping channels. Venturing into the Categories listing and then News, I found not only my local Fox affiliate here in Detroit, but also local-access channels for dozens of cities. The app also offers some radio stations, but they're identified only by frequency (99.1, 102.9, etc.), so there's no way to tell what you're going to get. When it comes to streaming radio, there are way better apps available.

Source: www.cnet.com
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