ABC bringing live streaming to mobile devices this week via new ABC Watch app



I have such mixed emotions deep inside me. On one hand, I’m super jazzed that ABC is finally catching up to modern times and that, starting this week, will begin live streaming to mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, Google TV?) via their upcoming “Watch ABC” application. On the other hand, I’m wondering why the hell this hasn’t been done sooner?

Either way, The LA Times is reporting that ABC’s live programming will, in fact, be coming to mobile devices first, for users in New York and Philadelphia starting tomorrow, May 14th, then will continue rolling out to an additional 6 cities this summer. By the fall, ABC hopes to hit more than 200 additional markets. However, there is a small catch. Besides not being available everywhere, the live programming also wont come free. Users will be required to have a current pay-tv or cable subscription, and must authenticate their accounts before they live stream on their smartphones or tablets.

While an Android version wasn’t specifically mentioned, I’m wondering what ABC could have planned as their ABC Player never saw the light of day in the Play Store, despite being released on iOS and even Windows 8. Still, overall pretty good news and a first for any broadcast network. Your move NBC, CBS, Fox, and everyone else.

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. cable required. i’d go with Aereo instead.


    was a good idea while it lasted.

    1. Are you serious!? How is that a fail!? I’m sure your parents or grandparents have a TV service. Just use theirs. That’s EXACTLY what I’m going to do. LoL!!

      1. He’s exactly right: it’s a fail. This app is just a way for them to say they are adapting to current viewing habits, yet in reality still cling to the past. Then they can later cancel the service due to “lack of demand”, when they are really the ones who artificially limited it in the first place.

        1. I don’t get it. How is it a fail? Don’t you need cable to watch ABC anyways? Or is ABC one of those channels that shows on Antenna?

          1. ABC is one of the 4 major broadcast networks (which also include CBS, NBC, and FOX). Their programming is, and has always been, available for free over-the-air. They make a heck of a lot of money for those broadcasts on the advertising, money they would not make on mobile.

          2. I see… Well that explains why OP said this was a fail.

          3. That actually depends on where you live. There are many areas where there isn’t local affiliate of one or more of the networks and the only way to receive them is via cable or satellite.

            More to the point, this techincally isn’t over the air any more than satellite is. For that you’d need a TV tuner and antenna built into your phone. This is making use of the provider’s networks to transmit the content, not the over the air spectrum the network affiliates are licensed for.

          4. “This is making use of the provider’s networks to transmit the content, not the over the air spectrum the network affiliates are licensed for.”

            That is completely irrelevant, as it still has to be transmitted using the provider’s networks to broadcast over the air. In fact, it costs them more to broadcast over the air than it does to stream over the internet, as they then only have to pay for bandwidth and server farms. They can even eliminate the server farms by using AWS, etc., like Netflix and others do.

            The point I was making to the OP’s comment was that considering the broadcasts are available for plenty of folks OTA, why would THEY care if you have a cable/satellite subscription? Simple: to protect the money they have coming in from cable/satellite providers for rebroadcast rights and advertising. This is also why they are fighting Aereo so hard, who DOES use tv tuners and antennas. Nice to see you address the technical aspect of my comment without understanding the actual point.

  3. My parents have U-Verse. I’m MORE than sure she won’t mind me using that. I can see this acting like Netflix. “Oh can I use your account?”

    I won’t be so lenient with this, though.

    1. So, uhhhhh…. hey, bro. Can I use your account when it comes out? O_o

      1. You got a Hulu? I wouldn’t mind using that. LoL!! Does Hulu have Supernatural Season 8?

  4. Remember, ABC is owned by Disney and the Watch Disney apps aren’t available for Android. However, Watch ESPN is.

    1. Yeah, it’s kinda iffy.

    2. I’ve also noticed the digital copy disc included with the Blu-ray for Disney owned movies is always iTunes only. They must have some deal with Apple.

      1. One thing to think about: on Android, someone somewhere would find a way to avoid the pay-tv requirement. There would also probably be a way found to avoid ads too.

  5. as of now “ABC” says the player will only be released to Samsung galaxy devices.

    1. I hope your joking….

      1. i wish i was, according to the abc(wpvi) affiliate here in philly, it will be iOS devices, kindle fire, and samsung galaxy devices.
        last sentence of the 7th “paragraph”:

    2. till it’s hacked a day later to work on all devices (or simply sideloaded, like some)

  6. What’s weird is that ABC is a broadcast network, therefore having cable or not shouldn’t matter.

    1. Not surprising at all. In reality, they want to still drive viewers to a tv set. Neilson is just finally getting around to including mobile viewing in its ratings, so it’s much harder for them to monetize mobile viewing.

  7. Apple > Pixar > Disney > ABC connection is probably why there is no Android app

    1. There is an app on the Amazon app store, which is Android.

  8. This app sounds like it could be cool, Chris. Streaming is one of the main things that I do with my iPhone, especially when I get bored during a slow shift at DISH. I’ll check out this new ABC app, but I am concerned that it only streams one channel. I subscribe to over 250 networks, and I would have to have over 250 apps to stream them all! I will try the ABC app, but I’m sure I’ll stick with my DISH Anywhere app. It streams all of my channels, as well as recordings from my DVR, so I can access anything I want to watch with just one app.

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