Get the ABC News App for your iPad here.
ABC News launched their apps for iPhone, iPad and Android. They’re not to bad, and they stream some live events. But technical problems mean they’re not ready for prime time yet.
Live Streaming TV a (Qualified) Success
I got to watch the live Presidential Inauguration on TV this morning. This was an achievement of television, mobile and WIFI technology, because I don’t pay for want cable in my home. I’ve been cable-free since 2004 (except for 6 months in 2009, which drove me right back to streaming).
Initially, that meant no television at all. I downloaded shows like “BSG,” “Lost,” “The Office” from iTunes. I never saw a commercial. It was wonderful, except that I felt left out during live events since I had no access to news of any kind.
2008 Streaming Hulu, Netflix, iTunes
Around 2008, I started getting Hulu and Netflix streaming, which greatly increased my access to TV shows and lowered my monthly entertainment budget. At under $10 each, even added to the expensive premium shows and movies I purchased on iTunes, it was about $110 less than what my cable bill would be.
But still, no streaming “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” no Election Night coverage and no “Oscars.” In the world of SocialTV, I was left out.
And I was still watching everything on my laptop.
2012 Streaming TV on a Television
Fast forward to January 2012. I bought my first television, ever! (My parents gave me my last television set, which lasted so long that when I moved to the West Coast I abandoned it in my Brooklyn apartment so I could buy a new one.) The TV I bought is a big, beautiful, 54” flat screen, Visio, connected TV. I feel like a real American with this television dominating my living room. So, of course, now I want to watch TV on TV.
Now I stream “Downton Abbey” on my big screen. And I stream all my Netflix and Hulu, not even minding so much that Hulu has brought commercials back into my viewing experience. And best of all, Apple TV lets me stream all my web content onto my television from apps on my iPhone or my iPad.
Thank you all, for pulling this altogether for me.
Live Streaming Events without Cable
And FINALLY, ABCNews, CBS, NPR and a handful of others have got their apps into the App Store so that I can get the news streaming too.
(Strictly cable stations like CNN and Showtime still only allowed me to stream if I subscribe to a cable service plan. How long until they cut their cords? What do they have, 30 year contracts with Comcast?) I can watch not only all the clips of the week’s news coverage on demand, but I can stream live events!
So I watched the Inauguration 2013, along with the rest of the world this morning using the ABCNews app. It was thrilling. I love Obama—no seriously, I love that man. And I loved Tweeting about #inaug2013 along with the rest of the Tweeple: the profound, the profane and the totally stupid.
But…UX Isn’t There Yet
The one caveat being that the App timed out every 5 minutes, turning itself off during the President’s Speech, during Beyonce’s Song, during the that poet’s poem that didn’t rhyme (‘cause poems haven’t rhymed in more that 70 years, you dopes)….
So freakin’ annoying. And this is easy to fix. The This American Life app fixed it. NPR News fixed it. The Pandora app never did it. What’s up with you ABCNews? Aren’t any of you actually using your app so you can experience what your Users are experiencing? Doh.