iView lands -and internet TV grows up

By David Knox on July 24, 2008 / Filed Under News 11

Last night in Sydney the ABC launched its new internet television platform, iView under the theme, “TV out of the box.”

Director of Television, Kim Dalton was pleased as punch as he introduced the product to media, and well he should be.

The service allows users to watch high-resolution streaming television programmes on their PC at no cost, with an in-built video player functionality that enables play, pause, fast forward and rewind.

Missed last night’s Dr. Who? It’s online. Want to see what happened on The Hollowmen? Just turn to the internet. The ABC is determined to marry television and the internet in ways that will put other networks on notice: everything is free and instant.

There are some benefits in not being driven by advertising….

“Fast broadband is on its way everywhere and it is a great way of distributing content,” said Dalton. “People can watch, and will watch, this content on their desktop and laptop computers. The gap between the computer and the television screen is closing at a rapid pace. This iView service allows that content to be seen by those who missed it on television, or who would rather watch it on another device.

“This is about the ABC being seen by more Australians in more ways, more often,” he said.

iView also requires no additional software download, other than flash and high speed internet (1.1Mbps and above). The interface is sleek, elegant and contemporary.

iView launches with six channels, Catch Up (the place for recent ABC2 and ABC1 programmes), News, Kazam! (for kids TV), Docs (documentary), Arts and ABC Shop which plays previews for programs which can be rented or purchased.


Amongst the programmes offered on Catch-Up are Valentine’s Day, Foyle’s War, The Gruen Transfer, The Bill, The Einstein Factor, Q & A, Moving Wallpaper, Echo Beach, Wild at Heart, and Grand Designs. This channel begins with 26 programmes and 18 hours of content. But more channels and programmes will build. Some will be available longer than others due to rights. ABC’s ambitions are for an exhaustive library of current, future and archival shows available at the click of a mouse.

Playing a file of course means it adds to monthly download limits and each file size is clearly indicated. ABC is currently negotiating with Australian ISPs to allow iView to operate free of download limits. So far iiNet has agreed.

The platform, which was beta-launched in March with two and half thousand participants trialling its functions, works on Mac, PC and Linux. Again due to rights, it is not viewable outside Australia.

Most signicantly, iView was created entirely within the ABC. It was designed and built by ABC Innovation with collaboration from ABC TV’s Multiplatform unit.

Press Release:
ABC TV has begun the next phase of television broadcasting in Australia with the launch of its free internet tv service, ABC iView, available at abc.net.au/iview.

ABC iView is a new way to watch tv. No longer tied to the television set, Australians now have access to a quality, high-resolution, full-screen viewing experience on their computer. At the click of a mouse, viewers can choose what to watch, when to watch, and where to watch ABC content from five channels including:

ABC CatchUp – showcasing the weekly programs that everyone’s talking about from ABC1 and ABC2.

ABC News – the latest news from Australia and worldwide, as well as weekly current affairs programs from ABC’s award-winning team.

ABC Kazam! – the ultimate kids’ fantasy channel offering a high energy mix of action, adventure and animation.

ABC Docs – a hand-picked selection of natural history programs, social documentaries and factual series.

ABC Arts – culture comes alive with a specially crafted schedule that celebrates the arts in Australia and beyond

There is also a sixth channel – ABC Shop – which plays previews for programs which can be rented or purchased as high-quality downloads from ABC Shop Downloads.

Programs will update regularly, and the amount of content on each of the iView channels will continue to grow throughout the year.

Director of Television for ABC, Kim Dalton, says ABC iView is the next stage in giving people more control over their tv programming. “The way Australians watch television is changing. People want to enjoy their favourite shows at a time and place convenient to them. The enormous success ABC TV has had in providing our content online through vodcasting, clearly shows that Australians love to watch television this way.”

“ABC iView offers the convenience and choice of television on your computer, without having to compromise on the quality of the vision. With five channels on offer and more in the pipeline, ABC TV continues to set the agenda for the media industry in Australia.”

“ABC TV is committed to offering diverse and engaging television to Australian audiences. With a particular emphasis and focus on Australian content. And as Australians spend more time on line and increasingly get some of their entertainment and information via broadband we want the ABC to be there with Australian made programs and the best of our overseas content. We are redefining television.”

Developed in-house by ABC Innovation, ABC iView is a streaming video service which provides full-screen, high-resolution video at a quality above that found on most international television content sites, or sites like YouTube. To achieve this quality, ABC iView has been designed to run on computers with a high speed broadband connection (such as ADSL2).

ABC iView has its own in-built video player, which means people don’t need to download any additional software to watch video. Users can watch the five channels, or create their own, by selecting individual programs and adding them to a playlist.

Ian Carroll, Head of ABC Innovation and Development, says with the creation of iView, the ABC is taking a significant step into the broadband future. “I see this as just the first of many new and different relationships the ABC will be forming with all Australians.”

ABC TV has already spearheaded the growth on online content in Australia. It launched its vodcast service in July 2006, and last year, ABC TV recorded almost 18 million vodcasts downloaded from more than 20 programs. So far this year, more than 55 programs have episodes or segments that can be viewed online (either through download or streamed) and this continues to grow.

As Australia’s leading multi-platform broadcaster, ABC TV continues to connect with audiences throughout the country, making it easier to enjoy Australian content through television channels ABC1 and ABC2, the most comprehensive array of downloadable content online, and now, the new internet tv service ABC iView.

ABC…Redefining television in 2008.

11 Comments »

  1. Sgt Bargearse July 25, 2008 at 4:48 pm -

    The ABC leads the way again :) I’ve always thought they’ve had a much better site than any of the commercials. Once again, they prove me right :)

    thomas, I’m using Firefox 3 on Vista, and it works fine for me. Do you have the latest Flash player?

  2. Ian July 25, 2008 at 3:00 am -

    yes im annonyed its Aus only, ill have to find other places to watch a couple of shows

  3. avoidz July 24, 2008 at 11:33 pm -

    Nice idea. But using the service would vaporize my download limit in no time. Unless ALL ISPs get on board an exclude the content from usage caps, this is just a high-tech beta experiment only a few will be able to afford to access on a regular basis.

  4. Thomas July 24, 2008 at 11:18 pm -

    Wowee, it’s definitely a brilliant platform – whoever designed and implemented it deserve a pay rise!

    But it doesn’t seem to work with Firefox though (?)

  5. Benno July 24, 2008 at 2:06 pm -

    Who would have thought, a tv channel with little motive for profit, innovating tv viewing before the commercial ones.

  6. Matthew July 24, 2008 at 1:06 pm -

    “The service allows users to watch high-resolution streaming television…”

    If by ‘high-resolution’, you mean crappy Youtube-style-resolution then, yes, it it is high resolution.

  7. evil July 24, 2008 at 12:17 pm -

    I wouldn’t call it HIGH resolution but it’s not awful. Quota free on iiNet makes me much more inclined to use it.

  8. Mark Roberts July 24, 2008 at 11:13 am -

    Internet cost/availability issues aside..this is a BRILLIANT service!! Love it already.

  9. Ralph July 24, 2008 at 10:24 am -

    These types of services are great in theory, but until we get more reasonable monthly download limits, they are probably not a realistic option for many people.

  10. Johnson July 24, 2008 at 8:49 am -

    I saw a report on the launch of iView at the end of ABC News last night.
    It’s a shame that iView is not available outside Australia. At least the news channel should be open to overseas people so expats can catch up with the latest news from Australia.

  11. lancer1993 July 24, 2008 at 7:38 am -

    Great another service I can’t use because we can’t even get ADSL, and is we got wireless of satellite a few hours viewing this site would us the monthly limit.

    We need Telstra to lift it’s game to provide better internet to all!

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