The Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) has unveiled their new iView service which gives users the ability to watch ABC1 and ABC2 programs online for free and up to 30 days after appearing on TV.

iView is a free service that requires nothing more than a high speed internet connection (ABC recommends 11Mbps for optimal viewing) and audio. Despite streaming a resolution that appears to be below that of standard television, even though the ABC has advertised it as ‘high definition’, iView still transmits a very good quality picture and has a great potential as a free resource nonetheless.

What I would like to point out and make clear to unsuspecting users is, that although the service may be free to use it’s still going to guzzle through your usage limit. So unless you’re with a provider such as iiNet who doesn’t count download usage from the ABC, you could incur a very hefty monthly bill from your ISP if you’re not careful.

For example, watching an average iView program could use approximately 300MB per hour (or per episode). For users who are on a basic broadband plan, even one episode could blow your monthly limit. What’s worse, if you with a provider who charges (opposed to shapes) your broadband internet connection after you exceed your limit, the charges could be severe.

E.g. Watching 3 x 1 hour iView programs online whilst on a 500MB limit that charges 10c per MB for excess use, could end up and cost you an additional $50 for that month!

The ABC’s iView service is very convenient and a leap in the right direction toward IPTV, however, if you intend of using this service be absolutely sure you know how much data you’re going to go through! More importantly, know what you’re excess usage conditions and limitations are with your Broadband plan otherwise you could be watching nothing online for sometime to come!