Dish Network customers woke up on Thursday to find that they were suddenly down one channel.
This week, the satellite company pulled Weigel Broadcasting’s Me TV (Channel 247) from its platform after a contract to carry the channel ended without a new one in place.
In a notice sent to subscribers this week, a Dish spokesperson said the two companies “have been working together on renewing our contract for some time now,” and came to a handshake agreement over Me TV a few months ago that allowed Dish to continue providing the channel to satellite customers.
“Unfortunately, Me TV backpedaled and made the decision to not honor the deal that they previously agreed upon,” the spokesperson said.
On its website, Me TV simply says that the channel is not available to watch on Dish, and encouraged viewers to use a different platform to watch the network.
The move means Dish customers aren’t able to watch some of their favorite shows, including classic series like “Batman,” “The Flintstones,” “Perry Mason,” “Dragnet,” “Gunsmoke,” “The Andy Griffith Show” and the reboot of the classic cult film series “Svengoolie.”
Dish losing access to Me TV comes several months after Sinclair Broadcast Group announced it would stop carrying the network on some of its local TV stations. The channel was replaced by one of several Sinclair-owned digital networks, including Comet and Charge, in more than a dozen broadcast markets.
Dish customers who want to continue watching Me TV have a few options: If the channel is carried in their area on a local broadcast station, they most likely can receive Me TV by simply attaching an over-the-air antenna to the back of their TV set.
Customers who live in an area where Me TV isn’t available on a broadcast station can still watch programming over the Internet by subscribing to Frndly TV ($7 a month) or Philo ($25 a month), both of which carry a streaming version of the channel that offers nearly all the same TV shows and movies available on the broadcast network.
Frndly TV offers more than 40 live channels of programming, including other Weigel-owned digital networks like Story Television, Heroes & Icons, Start TV and Decades TV, along with A&E, the History Channel, the Weather Channel, Lifetime, TLC, Great American Family, Game Show Network and more. The Basic plan costs $7 a month and offers unlimited streaming on one device, while the Classic plan costs $2 more and unlocks high-definition streaming on two devices at once plus an unlimited cloud DVR that stores recorded TV shows and movies for three months (there’s also a Premium plan for $11 a month that unlocks more features). All plans come with a free, seven-day trial for new customers who sign up using this link.
Philo is another wallet-friendly streaming service that offers more than 60 channels of entertainment, lifestyle and knowledge programming for $25 a month. It offers many of the same channels as Frndly TV (including A&E, the History Channel, Me TV, Decades, Game Show Network and Heroes & Icons), as well as other cable channels like Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, TV Land, AMC, BBC America, the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, along with a cloud DVR that stores recordings for at least a year. Philo offers a seven-day free trial when new customers sign up using this link.