The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has now launched their almost-like version of the BBC’s iPlayer, called ABC Now. However, it is not the iPlayer for some reasons, including the interface.
The interface is done in Flash, and it is stylish. That makes it better than the BBC’s iPlayer, as it uses a web browser in it’s application. ABC Now also allows you to have the latest news, live radio and weather reports.
The TV Tab is interesting, to say the least. It’s organised with Program Highlights, Video Downloads and Previews. Program Highlights are usually short clips of a certain ABC program, but some are actually full episodes but just have bookmarks. Video Downloads, however, are just the podcast RSS feed of a program; so expect it to be in a format readable in QuickTime. One good thing is that you actually have a guide to what’s going on across the ABC television channels.
Now, let’s get to the stuff that the ABC Now program have that the BBC iPlayer doesn’t. ABC Now allows you to listen to recaps or full audio versions of shows if you missed it, or listen live to all the ABC Local and National stations, including Radio Australia. Live Radio, however, requires you to have either Windows Media Player or Real Player.
ABC Now also have a News, Sport and Weather Tabs, with each doing what they say. All this comes from ABC News Online. In News and Sport, you will be able to read the news story, listen to the audio report and/or watch the report from the site.
As well, you will be able to stack stories on what you want to listen, watch or read. However, this is limited by section.
Now, let’s have a look at the flaws. Since this is in Flash, this may be a security risk. The Video controls are inside when playing the video. These stay on the video, even though it is transparent. This will bother you when you watch news videos. As typing this, I’m trying to watch a video, but it keeps repeating the same video.
The design kind of looks rushed, but good. The program should be able to have themes, but that may happen at a later date.
Also, most of the content is already on the ABC site, thus making this program unnecessary. It should be a download service for all of the ABC Content, at least for free. I really don’t like the fact that Video Downloads are from the podcast feed itself, it makes them kind of lazy. There is only support for Windows only, but Mac support is coming soon.
So basically, there is no use. I would use it, however, if I was able to watch ABC TV via a live stream, or even as a program downloading service like the iPlayer. But I like the fact that there is integration between ABC TV, Radio, News and Sport.
Below are some pictures of the program itself…