Big Screen Blog

Media Center, Windows Phone7 + Silverlight Goodness..

ABC iView Launched and other local Digital TV happenings..

with 3 comments

ABC TV in Australia (the gov run station) have launched an online video service iView – accessible via your browser (flash based) – featuring 5 channels of full screen on demand video (taken from their on air content). The service is free to the public (not clear if you can access it from outside Australia) – but might gobble up your monthly bandwidth if you don’t keep an eye on things. (currently iiNet is the only ISP to announce they will make this site unmetered – however more will follow soon).

The UI is really nicely done (shame it wasn’t Silverlight) – supports fullscreen mode – and allows you watch recent/latest shows that were broadcast on ABC1 and ABC2.  The channels include ABC News, ABC Catchup (recently shown tv), ABC Kazam (kids/animation), ABC Docs (documentaries) and ABC Arts – plus includes the ABC Shop with DVD previews.

If you can get to it – I’d recommend checking out "The Gruen Transfer" – a new show I’ve discovered a few weeks ago – which has a panel of advertising execs discussing latest tv ads/campaigns – and puts a couple of agencies head to head each week by challenging them to come up with an ad for an ‘unsellable product’ (for example last weeks theme was to make an ad encouraging an invasion of New Zealand).

This product + design would work really well on Vista Media Center – alas it’s not controllable by remote control.. (and done in flash).. see the UI below. I’d love to see the other networks embracing the online world like ABC has done – way to go!



Finally – an official EIT Program Guide for Australians…

Some (sortof) great news for Australian PVR users – over the past few months the FTA stations have finally been making their EPG’s available over the air via the EIT features of DVB-T system. Since the Australian digital system was launched (back in 1999) – we’ve only had flakey now/next information – and most of the commercial stations have fought tooth and nail to prevent users from getting an EPG anywhere near a PVR system. Luckily – they all did a well needed policy u-turn – and now Channel 7, Nine and TEN (the commercial networks) all have a 7 day EIT guide on offer, ABC a 4 day guide (gov run). SBS (also gov run) are still struggling to get the now/next information working – but it’s rumored they will have their 7 day guide working sometime by November.

There’s still a few things to iron out with the new EIT services – such as ‘quality and standardization of data, and correct spelling’ –  – which might make series recording and the like quite difficult to do. A local site (run by a user from who initially setup an online petition for EPG data a couple of years ago) – is aiming to keep the bastards honest – and demands the government mandate the networks to clean up their act (and make it a workable solution for scheduled recording).

Without doubt – the #1 feature that will be demanded in future by Australian Vista Media Center users will be ability to consume the EIT guide data from within Media Center.


Australian TiVo has arrived (with a whimper)…

A few weeks ago TiVo was officially launched in Australia (via a partnership with the Seven Network) – aimed squarely at the FTA market (no paytv support) – minus a number of the features found in the US systems. Amongst the exclusions are ad skipping (whats the point without this) – all online services/content – and the ability to share data to your pc (these latter two features will come via paid upgrade sometime in the future). The product is being marketed quite differently over here – with users paying an outright/up-front fee of AUD$699 for lifetime usage (although will incur charges for future features). The product is currently sold exclusively via Harvey Norman stores for the time being (so don’t expect any bargains).

On a side note – the Australian venture suffered a bit of embarrassment when it was pointed out that their advertisement (running on Australian TV) – was remarkably similar to a previous apple ad (which showed images flying in 3d to create buildings etc).


Freeview confirmed for 2009 in Australia

From the article on

The ABC, SBS, the Seven Network, the Nine Network, Network TEN, Prime, WIN and Southern Cross have joined forces to deliver the free-to-air digital television platform. The media companies will comprise a new not-for-profit organisation, chaired by the ABC’s Kim Dalton. Freeview will offer 15 television channels from free-to-air broadcasters on digital platforms, including new channels from the big three commercial networks. It will not include subscription TV. Freeview operates in the UK with an EPG at no cost to viewers, with no satellite dish, no subscription, no ties, no contracts, and no installation costs.

read full article here

Its a tad unclear what exactly will come out of this beyond what is currently on offer (as each station already has several under utilized subchannels – despite the restrictions being lifted)- and we’ve had our fair share of disappointments in the past by announcements like these not being followed through. Only time will tell – and hopefully it will eventually mean more choices for viewing (for example if you switch on the TV on Sat/Sun afternoon you’re likely to only get live sports or cashforcomment lifestyle programs on every single channel).


Written by mobilewares

July 24, 2008 at 2:17 am

Posted in Entertainment

3 Responses

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  1. No access to iVew from the US 😦
    Back to BitTorrent I guess.  Error message is below.
    Thanks for the tip on "The Gruen Transfer" – will check it out.

    Due to copyright reasons this video program is available for download by people located in Australia only. If you are not located in Australia, you are not authorised to view this video.
    If you ARE located in Australia and feel an error has been made we would appreciate your help with improving this service. Please provide your details below to help us resolve the problem.
    Disclaimer: Note that IP addresses are captured to assist with problem resolution. The ABC will only use the information you supply to improve our services and for statistical analysis of audiences only. We will not use your details for other purposes. (A copy of our privacy policy can be viewed here.)


    July 24, 2008 at 4:41 am

  2. hey sorry to here that.. i read something after posting this that the due to them wanting to allow content producers ability to market their shows overseas (which is fair enough).. I noticed there’s a bunch of Gruen Transfer vids up on youtube which you’ll be able to watch (not the best quality though)…


    July 24, 2008 at 6:00 am

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