What is the Difference Between My “Local” Stations and “Neighboring” Stations?

Although all of the big satellite and cable providers talk about offering local stations to their subscribers, many people wonder what this means. Some are curious to know if they will receive the same stations as they receive through their traditional antennaes, and others wonder why their local stations are different from others that they know. However, it is important to understand that local programming isn’t quite as simple as it might seem when it comes to viewing it through the services of a satellite television provider.

Federal Laws Prevent Stations from Being Shown in Non-Local Areas

Although satellites can pick up signals from stations all over the world, satellite television providers are not permitted to give users access to channels outside of their local areas. Instead, these providers rely on Television Market Areas (TMAs) to determine which subscribers should be able to watch which local channels.

Different Areas Offer Different Channels

Between two different areas, the local channel selection might be vastly different. This is due to the fact that some areas offer more channels than others. Although the major networks are generally the same from place to place, some larger cities might have additional channels that smaller towns do not.

Different Channels Offer Different Programming

Although the bigger networks might be on the same channels and be very similar in programming between one area and another, different local stations still offer different programming. Weather information, news and more varies from local area to local area, and different time slots throughout the day are vastly different between locations.

Some Subscribers May Be Able to Access Multiple Local Stations

For individuals who live close to other TMAs, it is entirely possible to pick up multiple local stations. This is common in larger metropolitan areas; this is because there are a lot of different TMAs in relatively small geographic areas. Those who live near the border of one TMA and another might also enjoy multiple local channels.

Although it would be completely possible for the average satellite provider to offer local channels from the other side of the country to some of its subscribers, this doesn’t often happen. Those who live in areas that don’t offer local stations and individuals in other certain special circumstances can sometimes enjoy television from Los Angeles or New York, but this is rare as a whole due to federal laws and regulations.

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