By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman

TV Answer Man, DIRECTV said we could watch our blacked out station on the network app but it hasn’t worked. We live in San Diego. The Fox app says the programming is not available. What is DIRECTV thinking? They are just making it worse for us. — Jennifer, San Diego.
Jennifer, DIRECTV on July 2 lost 159 Nexstar-owned local stations and NewsNation in a carriage dispute between the companies. The missing channels include network affiliates for NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox and The CW. You can see a station list here. (The impasse also affects DIRECTV Stream and U-Verse.) After the dispute began, DIRECTV has recommended that subscribers use the network’s streaming apps or web sites as an alternative method to watch national programming, such as live sporting events and primetime shows. For example, the Fox Sports app offers live feeds of the network’s sports broadcasts from Fox, FS1 and FS2. You can usually access the app by inputting your pay TV’s user name and password.

“Unfortunately, since we currently do not have an active agreement with Nexstar, DIRECTV is legally prohibited from airing its content for the time being. You can still enjoy much of your same sports and entertainment for free at either the local station or national network websites and through popular apps or streaming devices,” DIRECTV says at its TV Promise web page. The satcaster’s social media team has also encouraged affected subscribers to use the network apps.

However, DIRECTV viewers in Nexstar markets have reported that the network apps are displaying ‘programming is unavailable’ or ‘unauthorized’ messages when they try to access it with their user name and password. It appears that the networks are supporting Nexstar’s blackout by extending it to the apps.

With the network apps unavailable, subscribers in Nexstar markets must now seek alternative ways to watch their local channels. But they present their own issues. For instance, the TV antenna offers local channels for free, but not everyone can receive their local signals from their home for various reasons. NBC offers live network sports on the Peacock app, but plans start at $5.99 a month. Paramount+ offers a live feed of your local CBS station in its plan bundled with Showtime but that’s $11.99 a month. Bottom line: Until DIRECTV settles with Nexstar, subscribers in the Nexstar markets will face inconvenience and possibly higher streaming bills.

The TV Answer Man will continue to monitor this situation and report back here if anything significant changes. Until then, happy viewing and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann