ABC released one of the first major video applications available on the iPad, but the recent release of the 3G version of the Apple tablet unearthed a flaw in the app — namely, that it wouldn’t stream video over AT&T’s mobile network. That has since been fixed with an update to the free app that now enables WiFi and 3G streaming.
To make 3G streaming work, ABC scaled down the quality of the video quite a bit, putting it roughly on par with 3G video streamed over the iPhone, based on our experience. And while the quality is significantly lower than what is available with a fast WiFi connection, it’s not unwatchable, and will do in a pinch for viewers that are on the go or not in range of a WiFi hotspot. On the plus side, ABC viewers with the 3G version of the iPad can now connect and watch videos anywhere they can get AT&T mobile service in the U.S.
In addition to 3G streaming capabilities, ABC added other new features, such as enhanced landscape viewing and orientation lock to ensure the video stays put if the iPad is jostled around. The new version of the app also includes parental ratings for all its shows, as well as improved video player controls for rewinding and fast forwarding videos.
The ABC player has been one of the top-downloaded iPad apps in the first month of availability, topping 400,000 downloads since the tablet was released on April 3. When one considers that Apple announced it has sold more than a million iPads in that time, that means that the ABC app has found its way onto about 40 percent of all units sold.
Early traction for the app has been strong, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise; initial studies of iPad viewership show that its users watch much more web video on the tablet than typical PC or mobile users. In the first month, users have watched more than 1.5 million episodes of ABC series, with Lost, Modern Family and V being the most popular shows on the device.
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