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ABC iView Review

We've updated our review but not a lot has changed.

ABC iview logo
ABC iView
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Price
Free
Max. video quality
720p
Ads
No ads
Alex Kidman
Dec 11, 2023
Icon Time To Read4 min read
pro
Pros
pro Available for just about anything with an Internet connection and a screen
pro Lots of Australian content
pro Easy to watch Live ABC TV or catch-up content
pro No ads!
con
Cons
con Slightly buggy
con Some older devices don’t get app updates
con Tops out at 720p resolution
con Doesn’t have Doctor Who any more (not that this is the ABC’s fault)

The ABC launched its iView catch-up and live streaming service all the way back in 2008, so it’s been a part of Australian cultural life for a long time now. It features a wide library of content comprising current ABC broadcast content, catch-up content and a mix of older programming, both local and produced overseas.

ABC iView review

Where can I watch ABC iView?


ABC iView’s lengthy history means that it’s been available for a long while, which means that there are iView client applications available for a lot of different platforms. You can watch it on a laptop or desktop directly from your computer browser, but it’s also available as an app for smartphones (iOS/iPhone and Android) and tablets (iPadOS/Android), many games consoles including the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, set top boxes running Android TV, Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV and the vast majority of Smart TVs sold in Australia over the last decade.

The one very slight caveat here is that if you’ve got a slightly older Smart TV it’s not unheard of for the app to stop working after a period of time. The ABC only has so many resources to pull towards app updates and developments and it pretty clearly seems to prioritise those platforms that are most heavily used. In some cases this can lead to the app still being there, but being behind enough that it won’t launch any more, or won’t show programs even if the interface comes up.

Heads Up
Tip: Can't find the app on your smart TV?

If ABC iView doesn’t work on your smart TV, the easiest way to bypass that issue is to buy a cheap streaming dongle such as a Google Chromecast with Google TV or Amazon Fire TV stick. It’s not guaranteed, but that is the easiest and cheapest way to “update” an older smart TV – and you might just gain a few other streaming apps and services along the way too!

Why is it called ABC iView?

It’s a very light pun on what you do with it. When I start up the ABC iView app, what do I do? I… View.

You see? OK, that’s not an official reason, as far as I know, but let’s go with it. The development of ABC iView was also very closely matched with that of the BBC’s UK streaming platform which is called iPlayer, and it’s also probably somewhat mimicking that.

Rev Streaming
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How much does ABC iView cost?

Access to ABC iView is free, although it has now introduced a login to view process, which requires a free ABC account. Without a login, you can still access iView, but only to view ABC TV live streams, not any streamed catch-up programming. Having a login not only unlocks its content library, but also enables personalisation features such as watchlists and the ability to pick up shows at the point where you stopped watching across any signed-in device, so it’s only a tiny quantity of friction for most users. If you’ve got particular privacy concerns, maybe use a burner email address to get past this issue – in fact this is exactly what the ABC itself advises if you have concerns.

Service
Details
Monthly price
More info
Binge LogoBinge Standard plan
4K streaming
2 streams
Deal: 7-day free trial
$18/mth
Apple TV+Apple TV+ plan
4K streaming
6 streams (Family Sharing)
Deal: 7-day free trial
$12.99/mth
Disney PlusDisney+ Standard plan
HD streaming
2 streams
Deal: $139.99 for 12mths
$13.99/mth
Disney PlusDisney+ Premium plan
4K streaming
4 streams
Deal: $179.99 for 12mths
$17.99/mth
NetflixNetflix Standard + Ads
HD streaming
2 streams
$7.99/mth
StanStan Basic plan
SD streaming
1 stream
$12/mth
Kayo SportsKayo One Plan
HD streaming
1 stream
Deal: 7-day free trial
$25/mth
Foxtel Now | 2022 logo | Reviews.org AustraliaFoxtel Now Essentials
HD streaming
2 streams
Access to over 30 channels
Deal: 10-day free trial
$25/mth
ShudderShudder plan
HD streaming
1 stream
Deal: 7-day free trial
$6.99/mth
Hayu | Provider logoHayu Plan
HD streaming
1 stream
Deal: 7-day free trial
$6.99/mth
Paramount+Paramount+ plan
HD streaming
2 streams
Deal: 7-day free trial
$9.99/mth

What is the ABC iView interface like?

While it obviously varies a little depending on the device you’re using for viewing, the general design is fairly consistent across platforms, with a carousel style view, which, let’s face it, everybody uses for any streaming platform. From your home menu you can access recommendations, the most watched programs and then curated lists of ABC iView content, typically themed around program types, contemporary issues or seasonal events – so, for example, a whole host of Christmas-themed content around December every year.

There’s a separate section just for ABC Kids, so you can more easily let the youngsters browse – and let’s be honest here, watch endless episodes of Bluey – while keeping material you may not want them to see out of reach.

The general approach is good, but like most streamers it’s far from bulletproof, especially for elements like search which can sometimes be a little janky. While it doesn’t carry ads the way all other catch-up VOD services do, you do get promos for other ABC content before a show stream starts.

The other big catch with ABC iView is that it provides a maximum streamed video quality of 720p, tops. That’s delivered over an adaptive stream so if you are on a slower or shakier connection it will drop below that, but it will also never get any better than 720p.

What movies and shows are on ABC iView?

Bluey

ABC iView has a wide library of content that showcases both its own content as well as streaming content purchased from overseas providers. This covers some very big ABC hits (yes, kids, Bluey is there, because OF COURSE IT IS), a lot of genres that the ABC is well known for – great if you love your British murder mystery series – and a lot of content from the ABC archives. If you’ve missed a recent program broadcast on ABC TV, the odds are very good that it will be available on iView, though this doesn’t always hold true for all sports programming, due to the more complex nature of those rights deals.

However, it’s not like the ABC’s driven a digitisation truck up to its studios and dropped 67+ years of content into a big digital bucket. The changing nature of streaming TV rights means that there’s a number of series that you might think of as “ABC series” that aren’t found on ABC iView; in recent times the most contentious departure is probably Doctor Who, which was long associated with ABC viewing. While everything up to 2022’s episodes were shown on ABC TV, and most were available on iView for a time, current and future content is locked into a deal between the BBC and Disney Plus. That’s not the ABC’s fault per se – it clearly wasn’t going to be able to match Disney’s deep coffers – but it is no doubt disappointing for folks who might naturally expect to see it there.

Like the other catch up broadcaster streaming channels, the menu of content available on iView does vary over time. While ABC iView does tell you when it first made content available on the platform, and some of it does stick around for a number of years, unlike competitor SBS On Demand, there’s no warning of when that content might be removed.

ABC iView FAQs

Here are the questions people are asking about ABC iView in Australia
Can I watch ABC iView from outside Australia?
Officially, no – it’s only for the use within Australia. You may be able to bypass that with a VPN, but it’s certainly not supported.
Does ABC iView offer offline downloads?
No, there’s no facility for offline downloads of ABC iView programming on any platform at the time of writing
Do I have to have an ABC account to watch iView?
Mostly. Without an account to log into iView, the only content that you can stream are the refeeds of the primary ABC channels live to air.
How much data does ABC iView use?

The one benefit of keeping matters to a maximum of 720p is that ABC iView is relatively light when it comes to data use. It does depend on quality settings and the speed of your connection, but at most, ABC iView programs at best definition use a maximum of 2GB per hour of viewing. Comparatively that’s quite low; bear in mind that an hour of 4K Netflix will burn through 7GB of your data allowance, for example.

Does ABC iView offer accessibility features like closed captioning and audio descriptions?
The answer to both is yes – but not for every ABC iView program, and not for every platform in the case of audio descriptions. Subtitles/Closed Captions are broadly available for most iView programming – check for the CC logo on a per show basis to see if it’s supported. For audio descriptions if needed, you’ll need to be accessing ABC iView from an Android or iOS device, as those are (at the time of writing) the only two supported platforms.
Why are ABC programs available on other streaming services?
It’s not uncommon to see some ABC produced programming on other streaming services, and that’s largely down to the success that the ABC’s commercial arm has had in licensing out those shows to other services, or in some cases because they were co-productions with other production houses who may have then on-sold or joint licensed those shows to subscription streaming platforms. Bear in mind that the funds raised for these kinds of sales go back into the ABC, allowing it to continue production of local content, so it’s essentially a win all around.
Alex Kidman
Written by
Alex Kidman
Alex Kidman is some kind of word-generating AI from the future that somehow worked out how to sneak back in time to 1998 to start its journalism career. Across that time, including editorial stints at ZDNet, CNET, Gizmodo, PC Mag and Finder, as well as contributions to every major tech masthead, nobody has quite managed to figure out this deeply held secret. Let’s keep it between us, OK?

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