update After almost a year, catch-up TV-hungry iPhone users will finally be able to stream the ABC's iView service over the air via a 3G network.
The ABC's iView iPad app.
(Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)
The national broadcaster allows its users to stream content that have gone to air on any of its channels within the last seven days via the ABC iView website .
Users can stream to their Mac or PC via a web browser; Android users can stream to their phone or tablet using the Flash Player in their browser; iPad users can stream using a specially developed app. Until now, iPhone users had always missed out on the service.
After a 10-month wait, however, the iPhone-streaming facility is now officially on the way. The app will look and operate the same as the iPad app released in January, the broadcaster said, offering the same array of catch-up content, as well as live streaming of ABC News 24. The app will also carry support for Airplay mirroring.
It isn't all roses for iPhone users wanting on-demand content, however; the ABC informed ZDNet Australia today that it hasn't struck any deals with telecommunications carriers in regards to mobile data usage, meaning that all iView content streamed to devices will count towards a user's quota as metered content.
"The app will not be unmetered. We recommend that viewers keep a close eye on their mobile data quotas if they watch a lot of iView content over 3G," the national broadcaster admitted.
In January, iView project director, Hamish Dobbs, told ZDNet Australia that providing 3G streaming would see the cost of providing the iView service to users explode to near-unfeasible amounts for the broadcaster. The ABC said today that it has worked hard to lower the cost of streaming in order to provide the service, adding that the cost of streaming video is only going to decrease.
"While, over time, the cost of data will come down, we know video consumption on tablets and smartphones will increase exponentially, as people use their devices as additional TV screens.
"Mobile-video traffic now accounts for more than 50 per cent of total mobile data traffic, and, by 2015, video will generate 66 per cent of mobile-data traffic," according to Cisco.
"The ABC is committed to offering Australians access to TV content, however they choose to consume it, and this means adapting to meet the changing expectations of audiences," the broadcaster said in a statement.
The ABC indicated to ZDNet Australia that the iView improvements, including 3G streaming to the iPhone, would be made available in early-2012, before the end of the summer.
Now that it has conquered the cost and feasibility of 3G streaming, ABC's iView team is set to work on overhauling the entire iView platform in the near future for better integration into mobile devices, the broadcaster said.
Updated at 10:09am, 25 November 2011: added the release timeline for the new iView improvements.