Hulu Live TV no longer provides access to a number of CBS affiliates, affecting local streams, including the option to watch NFL games. This is the result of another dispute between Hulu and Sinclair Broadcast Group. Whether an individual subscriber and household is affected by the dropped channels, depends on where they live and if their local CBS affiliate is operated by Sinclair.
Disputes are nothing new in the live TV streaming world with many services often getting caught up in disagreements with content providers and channel owners over carriage rights and pricing. When it comes to Sinclair specifically, many of the major streaming services have dropped channels over the last year, due to being unable to agree new terms.
For example, YouTube TV, Sling TV, and fuboTV have all also dropped channels after a carriage dispute with Sinclair. This has most commonly involved access to Fox regional sports networks (RSNs), resulting in a major reduction in the number of options for watching local live sports through a live TV streaming service.
Hulu has updated its help pages to explain that, as of December 16, 2020, subscribers no longer have access to a number of local CBS affiliates, due to the service losing the rights to carry these stations. The FAQ also confirms that the loss of local live affiliates also means subscribers will be unable to stream local news and NFL games through any of these channels.
Affected Hulu subscribers
Sinclair owns and operates a number of local affiliates, including Fox and CBS. The company says its reach includes 23 RSN brands, covering as many as 190 television stations in 88 markets in the United States. Therefore, whether an individual subscriber is affected or not will come down to whether their local CBS affiliate is operated by Sinclair.
CBS affiliates no longer available on Hulu Live TV:
- KUTV (Salt Lake City)
- WKRC (Cincinnati)
- WPEC (West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce)
- KEYE (Austin)
- WWMT (Grand Rapids-Kalmzoo-B.Crk)
- WHP (Harrisburg-Lncstr-Leb-York)
- WRGB (Albany-Schenectady-Troy)
- WGME (Portland-Auburn)
- KGAN (Cedar Rapids-Wtrlo-IWC&Dub)
- KDBC (El Paso-Las Cruces)
- WSBT (South Bend-Elkhart)
- KBOI (Boise)
- KIMA (Yakima-Pasco-Rchlnd-Knnwck)
- KVAL (Eugene)
- KBAK (Bakersfield)
- KRCG (Columbia-Jefferson City)
- KTVL (Medford-Klamath Falls)
- KFDM (Beaumont-Port Arthur)
- KMEG (Sioux City)
- KHQA (Quincy-Hannibal-Keokuk)
- KTVO (Ottumwa-Kirksville)
Although not great news for Hulu Live TV subscribers, this is not the first time in 2020 that Hulu and Sinclair have failed to reach a deal, resulting in the loss of channels. In October, Hulu Live TV subscribers lost access to a number of Fox RSNs, as well as YES Network and Marquee Sports Network.
The updated FAQ page does explain that subscribers will still be able to access many of the popular shows broadcast on these channels by tuning into the national CBS channel.
For subscribers who do want to continue accessing these same locals, they will need to consider an alternate route, such as setting up an over-the-air antenna or subscribing to the standalone CBS streaming service, CBS All Access.