Monthly Archive for December, 2007

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The curious, and potentially exciting ABC Now.

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The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has just flicked the switch on its new software offering ABC Now. Currently only available on PC (with Mac on the way) the desktop client is an audio/video hub for ABC content that allows you to stream and download programs and listen to live radio. And while comparisions are bound to be made to the BBC’s iPlayer this isn’t quite it, not yet at least.

The software is currently pretty basic, and doesn’t offer anything you can’t already get through the ABC’s website. What I find exciting about this is the potential it has. The fact that the ABC is building its own software is great, and its promise to be cross platform is also nice, what it needs though is much more content, much better quality streams and downloads, an integrated media player and library for your downloads, live streaming of ABC television channels, and a huge video back catalogue of every ABC production they have the rights to give away or sell to us.

And while my wish list is probably a bit of a stretch, I think this very first release is a nice start, with a lot of room to grow. Try it out for yourself here.

In related news: The ABC have announced that vodcasts are being downloaded at a rate of 327,000 per week, with over 14 million video downloads so far this year.

A new Showcase for alternative television.

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Australian’s welcomed a new channel onto their subscription television platforms today, that new channel is Showcase. Available to subscribers of the Foxtel, Austar and Optus networks the new channel is being described as the home of “dramatically different TV” while extolling the old chestnut that “TV is the new hollywood”. I’m a huge fan of what you might call “alternative” or “cult” television, with most of my favorite shows not even airing on Australian television, at least not with any regularity or respectable time slots, unfortunately for this post though, I haven’t watched any of the shows making their local premier on Showcase.

Series like Dexter, The Riches and The Tudors are all finding their way uncut, and uninterrupted to Showcase, however I’ll have to leave it up to you guys to let me know if they’re worth a try. Documentaries and movies will also fill some of the Showcase schedule with Little Miss Sunshine and An Inconvenient Truth some of the first to air.

Showcase, along with its sister networks Showtime and Showtime Greats are jointly owned by NBC Universal Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Liberty Global International, and although this channels free to air debut would make for much more exciting news its still nice to see television being treated with a similar respect to films, even if you’re going to have to pay for it.