Update: The new ABC app supporting video streaming over 3G is available for download.
Earlier: Good news, iPad 3G owners: ABC’s iPad app will support 3G video streaming in a new update to the app, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The app has already been submitted to Apple, and pending approval — which ABC should get — it will be available for download.
ABC’s app has been one of the most popular iPad apps since the tablet launched a month ago, and is currently the no. 6 free app in the iPad App Store.
But since the iPad 3G launched last Friday, there have been several complaints that ABC’s app only streamed video over wi-fi, and didn’t work over 3G.
What was the cause?
Last month, an ABC rep told us that the app was wi-fi only on purpose, “based on a variety of business and technical considerations.”
We had originally hypothesized that streaming rights were the main cause of those “business” issues, based on conversations we had with execs from another TV network. We had been told in the past that TV networks had different rights structures for streaming video content over 3G than over wi-fi, because 3G is considered “mobile” and wi-fi is considered “PC/Web streaming” — even on the same device. (Which is obviously silly.)
We don’t know whether these rights played any role in ABC’s “business” issues for the iPad. But whatever issues existed a month ago — perhaps uncertainty with regards to what ABC should do for the iPad and what it should let Hulu handle — have clearly been resolved.
And as for the “technical” issues, we don’t have details there either. But given ABC’s history of REALLY focusing on high quality video, it’s possible that AppAdvice’s explanation — that ABC didn’t include a lower-quality, backup streaming capability in the first version of its app — is accurate.
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