News: New Zealand Television Finally Embraces iOS
Big things have been happening in little New Zealand these last weeks on the iOS front. Until recently, the land of sheep and a rather pleasant Sauvignon Blanc or two have been iOS free for catch-up television, citing Flash as a reason to deny support. This is no longer the case with both major national networks opening up their streaming services to iPads, iPhones and iPod touches.
Yesterday, the largest and oldest television network in New Zealand, TVNZ, finally released its much anticipated iOS app for both iPhone (iPod Touch) and the iPad with great fanfare. In all honesty though, they were technically pipped at the post a week or two earlier with New Zealand’s second network TV3, rolling out by stealth iOS support through the Safari browser.
Two completely different ways to access their content on Apple’s mobile devices, and both offering various advantages and disadvantages.
Generally speaking, people prefer apps for online television services and TVNZ’s first foray into iOS is both pleasant to the eye and generally functional. There is nothing revolutionary here, but it works well in its basic form, if missing a few features, which are generally defined as standard these days.
Its greatest omission would be AirPlay support, something which will no doubt drop the apps overall score in the App Store. Due to licensing issues, TVNZ have adopted a zero approach to AirPlay & HDMI-out support, a decision quite uncommon in the on-demand world and one that is already setting the Apple community in New Zealand abuzz. TVNZ have stated that they hope to offer this feature in the future, but it does beg the question as to why they agreed to such restrictive licensing policies, which is not an issue with many other broadcasters.
On the other hand, TV3’s web browser approach would probably be best described as a budget embarkation to iOS support, and it clearly lacks the clarity and sleek design of the TVNZ app. That said, there is something positive to say about function over form and TV3’s complete embrace of AirPlay possibly makes it the most accessible FTA catch-up service in New Zealand, allowing it to easily be consumed on a real television.
In any case, television in New Zealand has seen another major step in embracing on-demand and catch-up services and we look forward to see what additional improvements these two network will offer in the future.
Update: For a full review of TVNZ Ondemand, including their new iOS app, jump over to the review page.