TV hack

Sneaky hack to watch KHOU in Houston during AT&T-Tegna blackout

Sneaky hack to watch KHOU in Houston during AT&T-Tegna blackout

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For three weeks in a row, fans of NCIS and Wheel of Fortune — not to mention local media favorite Chita Craft — have been deprived of their favorite programming due to a blackout of TV stations across the U.S., including KHOU.

But, we have a hack to get it back in real time on your SmartTV.

Some background on the situation: The blackout began at 7 pm December 1, following a dispute between between AT&T/DirecTV and Tegna, a media company that owns 64 stations in 51 markets across the U.S.

While they continue to battle over fees, viewers continue to get no programming. (Some customers report that a call to AT&T has resulted in a $20 refund.)

Many of KHOU's shows are available on CBS All Access the next day, and news broadcasts can be streamed through their website.

But for U-verse subscribers who want to watch the station's programming live, for free, on their SmartTV, there is a way to do it: using Locast, a not-for-profit service that gives access to broadcast TV stations over the internet.

Here are the steps:

  1. Gather materials: You'll need your computer (or other device with internet), your U-verse remote, and your SmartTV.
  2. On your computer (or internet device), visit www.locast.org. Click "register" and fill in your email address and create a password to create an account. Don't close this window yet.
  3. Turn on your SmartTV, and, using your U-verse remote, click Menu, then scroll down the options and click "Interactive."
  4. On the "TV Interactive" screen, scroll right to the blue "Locast" box and click it. You should see a message that says "Activate Locast" with a six-digit code in orange. Time to go back to your computer.
  5. On the Locast site, click "Activate" from the top left menu. Enter the six-digit code showing on your TV screen. You should see a message that says, "Your device was successfully activated."
  6. On your TV screen, you should see a list of channels in a TV Guide format. Scroll down until you get to the KHOU option. Click on the current program.

Voila! You're now watching it live.

Locast is free to use, but they ask for support through donations.