Live TV on the iPhone – Livestation previews its app

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Over the years I’ve gradually become somewhat impressed at Skinkers‘ sheer doggedness. Matteo Berlucchi has been CEO since its inception in 2001 and has kept on plugging away at their vision for delivering rich media to the desktop, even as the world has gradually moved to the web for the delivery of streaming video. Coming up with Livestation – broadcasting live TV to the desktop – in the mid-noughties, they got $3.5m from Spark Ventures (formerly NewMediaSpark). They they got a Series B round of $16m from Acacia Capital Partners and Spark again last year.

So what have they spent it all on? Well, they’ve been busy working on streaming live TV to the desktop mainly for corporate clients. Livestation offers peer-to-peer enabled streams from broadcasters like BBC and CNN. And it released some open software to download for the average user earlier this year. They are not the only ones in this game of course. Live Web streaming is now common place from TV broadcasters, and there is Zurich-based startup Zattoo plugging away with some desktop software. In the UK INUK Networks has the Freewire software, but it’s been limited to students sitting in smelly dorm rooms. Then there is the on-demand players like Joost and Babelgum and others.

Frankly, either the world was wrong about Web video or Skinkers was on to something. So far they’ve been proved wrong – Joost famously u-turned from desktop software after getting disappointing traction with their desktop app.

On Thursday Livestation will preview a development application for the iPhone/iPod Touch. Perhaps it will be the making of the platform? Who knows. But the irony to all this is that in 2006 Microsoft and Skinkers signed a technology for equity deal in 2006, a first for Microsoft in Europe at the time. So Microsoft will have a stake in bringing live TV to the iPhone. Nice.

Berlucchi will be online on Thursday 04 December at 5pm GMT in a LiveSTation chat room taking questions about their iPhone app. The app, when is hits the iPhone App Store, will only work over Wi-Fi at the moment. But who can wait? Instead, they’ve got a YouTube video, embeded below.

The real action starts 2 minutes in to the video, showing a demo of live TV being streamed to the iPhone over WiFi.

Ok, it’s not quite the first. Orb had an app for jailbroken iPhones, and now has an official app, but it requires paid-for software downloaded to a PC to work, from whence you then access the content on the iPhone. Dull.

Hopefully Livestation’s app will be as good as it promises.

  • http://www.veedow.com Fabio De Bernardi

    Looks really nice and smooth! Matteo, you should get the Apple guys to embed the app in the iPhone just like they do for youtube… a bit Microsoft way of doing business but it’d be massive for you!

  • http://www.cynicism.co.uk Scott Colvey

    Ooh… BBC News 24 on an iPhone. I do hope he’s got a TV license.

  • Erick

    You may say Orb is dull because you need a TV card on a internet connected PC but to me, this seems like an very underwhelming competitor.

    First, it’s vaporware. This was nothing but a weak PR with no timetables. Second, nobody (maybe google) “talks” to Apple about apps on the appstore. You submit your app and you get rejected or not rejected based on the app. Orb got rejected at first because they didnt throttle the video over 3g/edge. They did and now its approved. I suspect livetv will have to do the same. Talking to apple…*snort*

    Unless they offer all the channels I have at home, Im not particularly interested.

    • http://billyd.tv/ Billy Disney

      The good news is that there’s a hack for jailbroken phones that, once installed, fools WiFi-only apps into working over 3G.

      The concept of being able to watch Al Jazeera English, etc. on my phone is amazing. Not to mention the grassroots channels that might spring up on the user-contributed side of things if this app takes off.

  • http://www.brimdeforest.com Brady Brim-DeForest

    Very interesting development and implications for mobile tv. Old handheld televisions are about to stop working in the U.S. come February (when we switch from analog to digital broadcasting) — but does anyone really watch live TV on a handheld? Will they watch it on their iPhone?

  • Ben Ortega

    I wouldn’t be a heavy user but I’d certainly be interested in watching bigger events like the upcoming inauguration.

    I’d use if for things like that but certainly not to catch the 8PM show.

  • Julia

    Orb doesn’t require “paid-for software downloaded to a PC to work”. Downloading Orb on your PC is FREE. The iPhone app is only $9.99 to get ALL YOUR channels from home. That’s much better that “some other channels” I don’t know anything about…

  • Arnold

    Does this mean the end of MobiTv, Inc.?

    • HmmConvenient

      More of a threat to MediaFlo and the other emerging standards for over the air delivery of content to cell phones.

  • http://www.petebernardo.com Pete

    With SprintTV I can’t see AT&T not rolling this out eventually on their own. I could see them charging a nice little premium for this and I have to tell you I would pay it. I had not seen Sprint’s implementation till recently and it is pretty slick, like anything new it still has its hiccups but it was still very cool to see live tv… Livestations implementation looks very cool but I think the constraint of having to be on Wifi is going to prevent it from exploding, if I’m at a hotspot I’m probably with my laptop and since there site has Live TV I would defer to that. Either way it is great to see a company pushing this.

  • http://blog.andrewmin.com/2008/12/03/live-tv-on-the-iphone-thanks-in-part-to-microsoft/ Live TV on the iPhone (thanks in part to Microsoft) at while(alive) { actgeek=true; }

    […] Live TV on the iPhone – Livestation previews its app. […]

  • John

    Cool

  • Jevons Chang

    Does anyone consider a compelling delivery of the live TV broadcasted content over the air? I think to run this over the WiFi streaming is quite a heavy loading for any wireless network operators also it utilize more power and energy resources to operate.

  • http://iphonews.org/live-tv-on-the-iphone-livestation-previews-its-app Live TV on the iPhone - Livestation previews its app | IPHONE NEWS

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  • http://www.thankspank.com kyleman2k

    What happened to the Fbook connect? Anyway–this needs to be delivered through 3G otherwise whats the point? If I’m connected to Wi-Fi odds are I’m near a real TV.

  • Dallas

    I know slingbox had an iphone app in the works that would let you stream your tv to your iphone like you apparently can for some blackberries and treos. I dont know where they stand with that or if it has stalled.

  • http://www.macblogz.com/2008/12/04/livestation-to-bring-live-tv-to-the-iphoneipod-touch/ Livestation to Bring Live TV to the iPhone/iPod touch | MacBlogz - One Stop Apple News

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  • http://www.infone.org/2008/12/04/livestation-live-tv-on-the-iphone/ Livestation Live TV on the iPhone | infone.org

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  • http://dailymarauder.com/2008/12/04/wireless-325/ WIRELESS « Daily Marauder

    […] They’ve got a YouTube video, embedded after the jump, which shows the app working on an iPhone. (http://uk.techcrunch.com/2008/12/03/live-tv-on-the-iphone-livestation-previews-its-app/ […]

  • http://www.jhensley.org/blog/2008/554/netflix-streaming-live-tv-on-iphone/ Jonathan Hensley | The Blog » Netflix Streaming, Live TV on iPhone

    […] Live TV on the iPhoneOn Thursday Livestation will preview a development application for the iPhone/iPod Touch. Perhaps it will be the making of the platform? Who knows. But the irony to all this is that in 2006 Microsoft and Skinkers signed a technology for equity deal in 2006, a first for Microsoft in Europe at the time. So Microsoft will have a stake in bringing live TV to the iPhone. Nice. […]

  • http://www.jhensley.org/testblog/2008/162/quick-links-for-dec-4th/ Jonathan Hensley | The Blog » Quick Links for Dec 4th

    […] Live TV on the iPhoneOn Thursday Livestation will preview a development application for the iPhone/iPod Touch. Perhaps it will be the making of the platform? Who knows. But the irony to all this is that in 2006 Microsoft and Skinkers signed a technology for equity deal in 2006, a first for Microsoft in Europe at the time. So Microsoft will have a stake in bringing live TV to the iPhone. Nice. […]

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    […] streamed to your computer, via peer-to-peer, from anywhere. And today they’re ostensibly set to foretell an iPhone app that module do the aforementioned thing. Like we said, it seems same a enthusiastic intent — […]

  • http://www.spaziocellulare.com/ispazio/2008/12/05/livestation-anteprima-di-una-nuova-applicazione-gratuita-per-la-live-tv/ Livestation: Anteprima di una nuova applicazione gratuita per la Live TV | iSpazio - Il Blog sull'iPhone più letto in Italia e nel Mondo

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  • http://davidsymons.net David Symons

    Awesome – I have been waiting for live TV on the iPhone!

  • http://www.mobil-talk.de/iphone/3272-echtes-tv-auf-dem-iphone.html#post16812 Echtes TV auf dem iPhone ? - mobil-talk.de - Handyforum und mehr: Let's come together!

    […] Zeit, bis es entsprechende Applikationen für das iPhone geben wird. Aktuell ist etwa der Anbieter Livestation in Verhandlungen mit Apple, um auch auf dem iPhone echtes TV zu ermöglichen. Die Demo des […]

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