Television network ABC will reportedly launch an app this week that will allow residents of New York and Philadelphia to watch local programming live on their iPhones and iPads.
The new app will deliver live broadcasts from the local ABC stations at the touch of a "Live" button, making ABC the first U.S. broadcaster to embark on constant live streaming for smartphones and tablets, according to The New York Times. The app is expected to deliver the same programming viewed on traditional sets, except to Internet-connected mobile devices, where ever they happen to be.
The live stream, which will be available only to paying subscribers of cable and satellite providers, is expected to be expanded to six other markets where the media giant owns stations, the Times reported.
CNET has contacted ABC parent company Disney for comment and will update this report when we learn more.
While this move is novel, Disney has dabbled in live streaming apps before. In April 2011, ESPN, also owned by Disney, launched WatchESPN, which lets subscribers watch live programming from several of its channels. And last summer during the Olympics, NBC Sports and Adobe Systems partnered to create two apps for live streaming the games on mobile devices.
The delivery method has also attracted the attention of third-party companies, with a less-than-enthusiastic reception from ABC and the other major networks. The upstart TV service Aereo announced in January that it was bringing live streaming to 22 U.S. cities this year.
Aereo's antenna/DVR technology allows consumers to watch live, local over-the-air broadcast television on certain Internet-connected devices. However, the startup was quickly sued by the likes of ABC, CBS (the parent of CNET), Fox, NBC Universal, and Telemundo, which alleged in a lawsuit last year that the service violates their copyrights.