PBS rolls out free live stream of select member stations

The logo of public media broadcaster PBS. (Logo: PBS/Graphic: The Desk)

PBS is rolling out free live streams of select member stations, including several local stations in California.

Starting this week, PBS began offering live streams of around 80 member stations across the country.

The move comes about a year after PBS began offering live streams of most member stations via YouTube TV, the first such partnership with a streaming cable television alternative.

Unlike YouTube TV, the live streams offered by PBS via its website and Roku app are free to watch. Most programming is available to stream, though a handful of non-PBS programs may be blocked to viewers from time to time.

“Today marks a significant milestone with the launch of local live streaming on PBS.org, station video portals, and the PBS App on Roku,” Ira Rubenstein, the chief digital and marketing officer for PBS, said in a statement. “Viewers can now watch their station how, when, and where they want to, regardless of their provider. We now have an option for cord-cutters to watch live station signals free of charge that aligns with over-the-air access to broadcast.”

Viewers who live in a supported television market will see a live stream option after visiting the PBS website or launching the PBS app on Roku.

Several PBS member stations in California, including Sacramento’s KVIE (Channel 6), Santa Rosa’s KRCB (Channel 22), Chico’s KIXE (Channel 9) and Los Angeles member station KOCE (Channel 18). Other California member stations are not supported at launch, including San Francisco’s KQED (Channel 9), though additional stations are expected to roll out in the future.

At the moment, only the main, high-definition feed of a member station is supported via the PBS live stream feature — digital subchannels, including PBS Kids, Create and World Channel, are not available online.

To watch PBS live via a web browser, visit www.pbs.org/livestream

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