ABC iView Streaming Review


Summary

Our Verdict

ABC iView


iView puts all the ABC's programming within reach of anyone, anytime, anywhere

 
Overall 83%
Content
Usability
Value

It was the daring young upstart in a world that only knew TV as something to watch at the appointed time, or to diligently record for later.

The Facts

  • ABC’s free-to-air catch-up streaming service
  • Price: Free
  • Top content: Killing Eve, The Good Place, Australian Story
  • Streaming devices: Apple & Android devices, Apple TV, Fetch TV, Chromecast, PC/Mac, PS4, Samsung, Sony BRAVIA, Telstra TV
  • Support: Phone, Website, Email, App

When the ABC launched iView way back in 2008, the idea of “catch-up TV” was something completely new and largely untested. In fact, the BBC iPlayer service in the UK, which served as a model, was only about six months old. But with iView, the ABC’s New Media department delivered something many people never knew they needed – until they gave it a try. Its massive success was surprising even to the ABC. Since then, the network considerably expanded and enhanced iView, despite a limited budget.

Another advantage of ABC iView which sets it apart from other streaming services is how light it is on data usage – you’re only looking at around 125MB of data per half hour of TV.

What makes ABC iView different?

As with all free-to-air catch-up services, the most notable benefit of ABC iView is the array of exclusive ABC content that it allows you to watch at the click of a button without having to pay for a thing. From global hits like Archer and Gordon’s Great Escape to local news programs like The 7:30 Report, you’ll be able to find a range of different television programs to keep you satisfied.

Another advantage of ABC iView which sets it apart from other streaming services is how light it is on data usage – you’re only looking at around 125MB of data per half hour of TV. Pretty lightweight compared with, say, Netflix’s 1.5GB for the same amount of TV. That’s important to take note of if you’ve got a low monthly download limit, and especially important when viewing via a mobile device on 3G/4G.

Plus, a massive point of different from its free-to-air catch-up service counterparts is that just like the ABC itself, ABC iView has no ads.

What does ABC iView deliver?

ABC iView delivers a range of programs broadcast on all of ABC’s channels – ABC, ABC Comedy, ABC ME, ABC Kids and ABC News – as well as a selection of programs selected specially for iView. Not everything broadcast on the ABC’s five channels will make it to iView as a result of licensing restrictions, but there is still plenty to keep you going.

And the variety is significant. Tune into entire seasons of great dramas like Killing Eve, or if you’re after something a bit lighter, global comedy hits like Reno 911! and The Good Place should keep you satisfied. A large catalog of the acclaimed Australian Story is also available, or if you’re looking to keep the kids entertained, Peppa Pig and more are just a click of the button away.

Does ABC iView have unique content?

It certainly does. Though a large amount of what is aired on the ABC is available elsewhere in the world, much of it is only available on ABC in Australia. Plus, there’s a huge range of shows produced exclusively for the ABC, with the government funded network’s wide range of news and current affairs programs one such example.

ABC iView Sport. Photo: Supplied

What about sport?

There isn’t a whole lot in terms of actual live sporting action on the ABC, so the iView service is invariably a little thin in that regard. There is, however, a wide range of sport features and specials, including – currently – 7.30 Special: The Shane Warne Interview, as well as Sporting Legends – an interview with tennis legends Rod Laver and Margaret Court – and more.

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User experience

Streaming is most commonly enjoyed on portable devices, and this is where iView really shines. The iPad, iPhone and Android apps feature intuitive, stylish user interfaces, and the video content is perfectly sized for mobile consumption. And unlike iView on a desktop or laptop web browser, the apps can keep track of your favourite shows and offer you a customised list of programs to watch without you having to create an ABC online account and sign in.

The apps, which use your device’s unique serial number, can track your favourites and viewing progress without the hassle of having to remember usernames and passwords. Just add your favourite shows to your list and it’ll remember them and keep you updated on new episodes.

As mentioned, ABC iView has an advantage over its fellow free-to-air catch-up services in terms of the experience it delivers to users because there are no ads. The ABC is publicly funded, meaning it doesn’t need the support of advertising like other free-to-air networks, and this fact carries across to ABC iView. With a range of great shows all available free of charge and ad-free, it’s hard to find a fault with the service.

How to access ABC iView

As with most catch-up services, ABC iView is available either directly through the website or via the app, which is available to virtually every device you can think of – you can check out the full list below. You don’t need to create an account or sign in to watch – simply head to the website or download the app and you can start watching immediately.

Device compatibility

You can watch ABC iView on the following devices:

DeviceCompatibility
AndroidKitKat 4.4 and up
Apple TVYes
ChromecastYes
Fetch TVYes
Freeview PlusYes
iOSiOS 9 and up
PCs and MacsGoogle Chrome, Firefox, Safari (only on Apple macOS 10.9 and above), Microsoft Edge (only on Microsoft Windows)
PlaystationPlaystation 3 and 4
Smart TVsSamsung (TVs and Blu-Ray players), LG (2013 and above), Panasonic (selected Vieracast and Viera Connect TVs)
Sony TVSony Bravia devices
Telstra TVYes
Xbox OneNo

The Good

  • The app is highly intuitive and very easy to use on a wide range of devices
  • Completely for free and ad-free

The Gotchas

  • Doesn’t have the best resolution compared to paid streaming services

Summary – a catch-up service done right

This is the original catch-up service that set the standard for everyone else that followed. iView puts all the ABC’s programming within reach of anyone, anytime, anywhere. It comes with a very modest download usage and a terrific, user-friendly interface (especially on the phone and tablet apps). Wide accessibility is the service’s main strength. And while that does come at the cost of picture quality, it’s a reliable, ad-free way to make sure you never miss anything our national broadcaster has to offer.