ABC iView streaming to iPhones soon, but no HD video planned

A 3G version of the ABC iView app is in development for iPhones and iPads

ABC iView on iPad

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is collaborating with US company Brightcove to bring improvements to the national broadcaster's iView video on demand service, including adaptive bit-rate streaming to accommodate low-bandwidth connections and low-powered devices. A 3G streaming iView app for Apple iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad is in development, with the ABC's iView and Internet broadcasting manager saying the corporation is "working hard" to ready the app and service for public release.

Sally O'Donoghue, Manager, iView and Internet Broadcasting, told GoodGearGuide that a universal iOS app was under development, and while there was no concrete launch date the iView development team was hard at work: "It’s our aim to continue to extend the reach of ABC iView on mobile devices including smartphones, meeting Australian mobile audiences on various operating systems. A new universal iOS app is currently in development that will support 3G streaming. We’re working hard to make this new app available soon."

The ABC-Brightcove integration will allow the iView platform to deliver video content that varies in quality based on the strength of the end user's Internet connection. While a stable Internet connection with a large amount of bandwidth may be able to view ABC iView content without any interruptions or errors, the service is not optimised for low-bandwidth applications such as shared Internet connections, or high-latency 3G connections like those used by the majority of Australia's mobile phone networks. Brightcove's adaptive bit-rate streaming platform will scale the quality of the video to suit the bandwidth available, potentially allowing smartphones and tablets to access ABC iView smoothly.

“We are pleased to be leveraging Brightcove’s technology to give our users an even better experience when watching ABC TV on iView,” said Arul Baskaran, Controller, ABC TV Multiplatform. “Operationally, the Brightcove platform is making it possible for us to focus on making iView more widely available on mobile devices on various operating systems.”

While the new video platform will allow low-bandwidth applications, the introduction of a High Definition video streaming option for iView is not yet possible. O'Donoghue said that the broadcaster was aware of the demand, but no HD streaming feature was being implemented within the foreseeable future: "Streaming in HD is not currently on the roadmap for ABC iView. We know that Australian audiences are increasingly streaming iView content to their living room TVs, and watching iView on connected TVs, and we endeavour to make this a great experience. This includes giving attention to the quality of our video streaming."

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Campbell Simpson

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