Monday, July 28, 2008

ABC tv now online

On Wednesday, Australia's national broadcaster launched a website, iView, which allow people to watch "most" content broadcast on ABC tv.

Prior to iView, a small number of ABC programmes was available on the web. The resolution was small and the service sometimes dodgy, even at broadband speeds. In contrast, iView is at least full-screen. There are apparently still some quirks in the service, but it's early days yet. This shows great vision on the part of the ABC.

ABC recognises some of the limitations inherent in this delivery channel. On iView's front page is a pleasantly prominent gadget which charts a rolling update of the speed at which you can receive the service. It also warns that despite the ABC providing the content free of charge, it can soak up a user's monthly data limits quite quickly (potentially incurring penalty charges at the ISP).

The ABC has asked ISPs to exclude this channel from monthly download limits, which is quite a tall order. In fact, one ISP has already done this, but I can't see this as a general trend, as there are costs inherent in bandwidth provision that could be lost if such a high-volume site was excluded.

Also, it would be fair to expect ABC's content servers to be crushed by the volume of data they were asked to deliver. However, I would expect them to have anticipated this, and to provide sufficient resources to maintain quality of service. Unless demand is far greater than anticipated which, given the ABC's public charter, would be a sign of over-succeeding.

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