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Innovation

Unmetering not so important: ABC coder

Making streaming media content unmetered is becoming less and less of an issue as broadband plan allocations increase, according to the ABC developer behind an official iPad app released today for the iView catch-up TV service.
Written by Luke Hopewell, Contributor on

Making streaming media content unmetered is becoming less and less of an issue as broadband plan allocations increase, according to the ABC developer behind an official iPad app released today for the iView catch-up TV service.

ABC TV's iView iPad app

ABC TV's iView app for iPad (Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

ABC TV today launched an app for its iView service where users can stream full-length, H.264-encoded, 600Kbps shows from the catch-up service onto the iPad via Wi-Fi, as well as live stream the ABC News 24 service.

In-house developer Jake MacMullin is responsible for the creation of the iView application programming interface (API) behind the new iPad application.

MacMillin told ZDNet Australia today that iView content streamed to the new iPad app did count towards a users' download limit. This is despite the fact that companies like iiNet and Internode stream the desktop version of iView unmetered.

The developer said that the metering should be less of a concern to users, however, given the high download limits now offered by internet service providers (ISPs).

"I think that unmetering becomes less and less of an issue as download limits increase," MacMillin said.

Despite this trend in usage, though, the ABC did confirm that it is in negotiations with service providers to make content streamed via the iPad app unmetered.

App updates, Android support

The app itself has been released after a six-month development and testing period. The first iPad version went live on the app store today.

iView project director Hamish Dobbs said that a 1.1 version was already in development for late December/early January.

Dobbs said that the current version of the app does not come with parental lock-out support for content ratings and told ZDNet Australia that the team would work to include it for the next release.

ABC iView app

ABC's Studio 22 was decked out for its 2011 show launch and the launch of the new iView features today. (Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

Dobbs also revealed that the ABC was working on a version of the iView streaming application for Android devices, but couldn't confirm a release date due to compatibility issues between different Android-powered devices.

"There's so many different flavours of Android and getting it to work ubiquitously across all different devices isn't easy, but we're working on it," Dobbs said.

The project team behind the app is also working on a way to get iView content streamed to devices over the air. Currently it only streams over Wi-Fi.

"The main problem is Apple's specific requirements for streaming content ... makes it difficult," Dobbs added.

The ABC also announced a new partnership with Samsung to distribute catch-up content via Samsung's Internet@TV service, which is set to go live in the first quarter of 2011.

"We're delighted to be working with ABC TV to deliver to our customers all of its great on-demand content through the ABC iView app," said Samsung's CE group product manager, Brad Wright.

ABC TV's iView service saw 2.4 million visitors who streamed 3.2 million shows in August, with top shows including Rake, Spooks, The IT Crowd, QI, The Daily Show and Good Game.

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