NewsOn is a local news service that lets consumers see local news broadcasts live and/or on-demand as well as video clips from TV stations across the U.S.
The great thing about this app is the availability of dozens of news feeds all in one place, even when breaking news happens like severe weather.
It’s available as a free app for iOS devices, Android devices, and Roku connected TV devices. It’s time for it to come to Apple TV as a great addition.
What’s great about this app is despite Americans being restricted to watching the majority of programming to only their nearby network affiliates, NewsOn lets you watch the local news on 175 TV stations from 114 markets covering 83 percent of the US population (for a list of all the participating stations, click on this link). For those in Alaska, Delaware, New Jersey, South Dakota, and Wyoming you won’t find any affiliates to watch.
10 station groups make up the nucleus of the stations including those from the ABC Owned Television Station Group, Cox Media Group, Hearst Television, Media General, Raycom Media, Hubbard Broadcasting, and Sinclair Broadcasting. No, it doesn’t have every station in every market, but it has an exceptionally large amount.
On the NewsOn Roku app, it launches recognizing your connections internet protocol – or I.P. – address. As a result, it immediately connects to one of your local affiliates or at least the closest station to you.
The user interface is not the most friendly, but the commands are at least all available on a lefthand pop-out window.
Through the interface, you’re able to see details of what stream you’re currently watching, view previous newscasts from that channel, add a particular channel to your favorites, select other channels from five selected regions, watch recommended clips for various stations, and even browse through a list of live newscasts currently being broadcast…all this as the feed of the current station you’re watching continues to stream.
The app is definitely more of a user experience – or UX – style that is more analytical and technical than a user interface – or UI – design that focuses on a neat and presentable graphic layout. My hope is that whenever – if ever – it comes to Apple TV, it’s developed as a more user-friendly experience that’s more creative in its functionality and abilities.
With a free app comes sacrifices and the big one is commercials not just within local news programming, but often before and between a channel launching.
There are certain restrictions by which each television station might not allow for live broadcasts or even replays, but that is not the responsibility of NewsOn. For the most part, the majority of stations are allowing both.
About all you can do now is watch NewsOn via your web browser and or through a Mac stream via AirPlay to your Apple TV. My hope is that it has a life on Apple TV in the near future.
Brad Gibson Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of BESTAppleTV.com. He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as MacNN.com, MacObserver.com, MacCentral.com, MacMinute.com, and Macworld.com. He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the Associated Press and United Press International.
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