Griffin

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Griffin stations (including KOTV and KQCW) are off the Dish Network as of 4 minutes until 6 pm yesterday.

If you are trying to make sense of the conflict, an article from ADWEEK last year gives some context and history: Broadcast Group Pursues New Front in War with Pay TV

The article mentions the advocacy groups for each interest, American Television Alliance for cable/dish, and TVFreedom for broadcasters. It’s a propaganda war.

An FCC fact sheet briefly lays out the rules for retransmission consent and must-carry as set in the 1992 Cable Act: Cable Carriage of Broadcast Stations

The number of carriage disputes has sharply increased in the last several years. Certainly the conflict is all about revenue, but set against a backdrop of possible retransmission consent reform in Congress. The startup company Aereo, backed by media mogul Barry Diller, was a recent casualty by Supreme Court decision (see my recent comment about this illustrative case).

Who is right or wrong? Maybe a better question is, what kind of media landscape will evolve from any given Congressional action? Since there are no working crystal balls, each side will paint the picture that best serves its financial interests.

On a more parochial level, your options are cable, dish, satellite, internet (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, YouTube), antenna, or no TV.

“No TV” is free. Antenna has a one-time cost and is free thereafter. Internet services offer on-demand viewing at relatively low monthly cost. Cable, dish and satellite offer many realtime channels at a relatively high monthly cost.

Your decisions in this court cannot be overturned.

Perhaps this previous post will aid in your deliberations by helping you decide which TV and how much you require: Cord-cutting status report #1.

A Fox News-watching, Dish-subscribing friend of ours called me up to ask if I had a way to get Fox News content over the internet (see previous post, DISH’s carriage dispute with Griffin (KOTV) & News Corp). The answer is yes, but in a very limited way.

roku3Roku has a version of the Fox News Channel.

However, the only live programming it carries is Fox News Radio. It also does not carry or archive their most popular signature shows, such as “Hannity” and “The O’Reilly Factor”. I don’t think our friend is going to find it adequate as a substitute.

Last time I checked, I thought both CNN and msnbc also had their own Roku channels. But I see no CNN, and msnbc “highlights” have been folded into a new NBC channel. Fox Business has a Roku channel, but it is not very up-to-date.

I was able to get CNN as a Roku “private” channel. Here is a list of all Roku private channels. You can see there that the code for CNN is RBFA1. If you log onto your Roku account, and go to the account page, you will see a place to enter the code. Then you will have CNN.

This CNN channel’s content is up-to-date. Also, if you click on the CNN International icon, you will be watching a realtime feed of that channel (the only instance of of this I have seen so far).

A special channel on Roku is Plex, previously described here as both a way to serve your own video/music content, and also to select and watch its own channels, similar to Roku’s.

Within the Roku’s Plex channel, you can select Fox News, CNN and msnbc channels, if you previously set up your computer as a Plex server and added the channels. But today, when I started up any of these Plex channels via Roku, I got a message, “This app isn’t supported. You can still access (whichever channel), but you may encounter unexpected problems.” However, their content appeared up to date.

A selection of the available Plex channels in a browser

The same Plex channels also worked perfectly well from a Plex browser interface. According to Plex, “All Plex channels are maintained and supported by a community of volunteers.” And I believe the Plex channels are populated by the XML feeds provided by CNN, Fox, etc., so they will likely continue.

But as I had previously found, Plex channels, like Roku channels, are not equivalent to basic cable stations, since they require active seeking of specific archived content, not passive surfing of realtime content.

I wish I had better news for our friend, because last year he generously gave me back the bottle of Jägermeister that he took off me in a “dirty Santa” exchange. I have found it invaluable this year, getting me through episodes of “The Bachelor” that my wife finds so fascinating. “The Bachelor” starts a new season tomorrow. 🙁 (My 2008 review of “The Bachelor”.)

If he were, instead, an avid msnbc viewer, he would be in luck. Plex’ msnbc channel has relatively complete and up-to-date content from its shows, no more than a day after the original airings. Fox News’ Plex channel has even less content than their Roku channel. CNN’s Plex channel is completely out of date.

I’ll advise him to switch over to msnbc on Plex, and then he’ll be fine. 😉