PBS has now added a live TV option to its Android and Apple apps, as well as its Roku channel, offering users a way to stream their local PBS stations for free. However, there are some limitations at the moment. For example, not all PBS local stations currently support the live stream option, and as of right now, the same goes for devices.
Having access to PBS is a great way to consume local live TV content for free. However, accessing a PBS live stream has not always been the easiest of options. That now changes with the new support, and while not all stations and devices are currently compatible, PBS says that will change in due course.
Today, the PBS Video app on the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store were updated with the new live TV support. As a result, users can download the app on an Android or iOS mobile device and start streaming their local PBS station. The same is true for those who have the PBS Video channel installed from the Roku Channel Store with its live TV support having also gone live recently.
Where things get a little more complicated is when trying to watch through select streaming devices, set-top boxes and smart TVs. For example, the App Store changelog suggests the new PBS support extends to Apple TV, with the only limitation being the local station support.
In contrast, and although Android TV devices can download and install the exact same PBS Video app from the Google Play Store, the Android changelog notes an additional “on mobile devices” caveat. Therefore, while the live TV support seems to have gone live for Apple TV and Roku devices, as well as Android and iOS mobile devices, the Android TV support has yet to become available.
Stations limited but that should change
The number of supported PBS stations is currently limited, and as the live TV feature only allows access to local stations, some consumers will find they cannot access live PBS anyway, and regardless of their streaming device.
At present, PBS is showing support for more than 80 local PBS stations that offer live streaming. Consumers can head over to the PBS live streaming FAQ page to check see if their local station is available for live streaming. While limited, the same page does say this is simply due to how new the feature is and that “more stations will offer the live stream in the future.”
For those without direct device support, the same local PBS live stream can be accessed through Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari and Microsoft Edge web browsers. Similar to the station situation, PBS says it is “working on bringing live streaming to other devices in the near future.”