I watched nothing but ABC iview for a week. Here’s what I learnt (2024)

  • Culture
  • Streaming
By Aine Ryan



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I spend $962 a year on streaming services. I don’t do it because I enjoy spending money in a cost-of-living crisis, but because I love TV and my job requires me to stay updated on the latest releases. Financially, it stings.

Most people I know pay for at least two or three streaming platforms. Not only is it an expensive luxury, but with so many options, it can feel impossible to pick something to watch. I once spent an hour trying to pick a show, and by the time I decided, I was too tired to watch it.

So when my colleague spent a week watching nothing but SBS On Demand, I decided to join in on the challenge.

I watched nothing but ABC iview for a week. Here’s what I learnt (1)

Could I survive on just one (free) app? How would the content compare with the other subscriptions I have (and, more importantly, pay for)? I abandoned Binge, Netflix, Paramount + and all the other streaming services I usually switch between and decided to go steady with ABC iview. For a week.

What does it offer?

There’s a decent content library from ABC’s various channels. If you want to watch the latest Q&A or Four Corners episode or one of the broadcaster’s original programs including Bluey, The Newsreader or Old People’s Home for Teenagers, it’s the obvious choice.

There’s a large collection of British TV if you’re that way inclined (which I am) such as Vera, Death in Paradise, Doc Martin and Peep Show.

ABC has more films than I imagined, including many classics. I spotted several movies I was keen to watch including The Secret Garden (for nostalgia reasons) and Strictly Ballroom (a cultural blindspot for me).


First impressions

While I don’t use iview often, it’s my go-to free-to-air streaming platform. I don’t spend time browsing iview because I usually only go there with something specific in mind.


I scrolled through the app for half a second before landing on a collection: “Best of the Brits” – which featured a large collection of gritty crime dramas. I knew I’d found my home. It took me two days to watch the first season of The Suspect, a show I’d been meaning to watch for a while.

Under “Recommended For You”, I saw a bunch of other shows I’ve seen and loved, including Annika and Happy Valley, so I felt pretty confident I’d find similar quality shows if I kept looking. (I rewatched Happy Valley’s final episode this week after one of its scenes won a BAFTA on Monday.)

In “This Week’s Most Watched” was a new series, After The Party, which I remembered for its rave reviews, so I added it to my watch list – a handy list that features quite prominently when you first open iview.

I briefly contemplated watching Big Ted’s Excellent Adventure: 50 Years Of Play School because Kate Ritchie and Big Ted were looking at me very convincingly, but I didn’t get around to it because I knew a corpse in a British canal was probably waiting for me instead. If asked to choose between Big Ted and a pair of wistful cops drinking coffee while gazing at a crime scene, it will always be the latter.

I watched nothing but ABC iview for a week. Here’s what I learnt (2)

One benefit of banning myself from other streaming services is how much time I saved. When you’ve only one streamer, it’s easier to decide what to watch.

What I didn’t love

There are some consistency issues with ABC iview. When you start watching a miniseries, the first episode of each season is clearly labelled in order, like “Episode 1: Corpse in a British Canal.” Clear as day!

But when I decided to watch Bluey (for the first time – not bad), I looked at season one and found there was no episode number next to any of the 52 episodes available. All I had were random episode titles to go by, which meant I had to go to the Wikipedia page (a famously accurate website) to find out what the first episode was (it’s called Magic Xylophone if you were wondering). The problem is, the first episode was not the first one I saw. I needed to scroll to the very end of the collection to find it. Bluey episodes might stand alone and can probably be watched at random, but it’s an oddly inconvenient way of displaying content.

I watched nothing but ABC iview for a week. Here’s what I learnt (3)

If completion is important to you, iview might not be the best service. Not having full seasons for some shows can be frustrating. There’s a great British game show called Would I Lie To You?, and iview has seasons 3 to 15. If I have the time to watch 13 seasons of Would I Lie To You?, at least give me the first two as well. Similarly, iview has the fourth and fifth movies in the Twilight franchise, which is great if you want to start a movie franchise four films in.

Meanwhile, shows don’t seem to be licensed as long on iview as they do on paid streaming services. A little while ago, I watched season one of The Capture on iview. When I looked to see if the platform also had season two this week, I found that the entire show had been taken down.

The trickiest part for me was remaining faithful to one streaming service. On Monday, my colleagues kept telling me I’d love the show Such Brave Girls, which is on Stan*, but I couldn’t watch it because that would be cheating (and I’m no cheater!).

Would I recommend it?

I would recommend iview for TV lovers looking to save money (and time). Like SBS On Demand, it has great shows and movies, but iview is mostly ad-free, aside from occasional ABC promotions. If you want to cut back on streaming expenses but hate ads, ABC iview is unbeatable.


Despite a few user experience issues, I found watching iview on my iPhone, Windows desktop, and smart TV to be seamless. For a week, it was perfectly fine to only watch ABC iview – but while my bank account would be happier if I cancelled my other subscriptions and continued this experiment, my soul would not. I have shows to watch and canals to search.

What I watched on ABC iview

  • Saturday, May 11: The Suspect (season 1, two episodes)
  • Sunday, May 12: The Suspect (season 1, three episodes)
  • Monday, May 13: Happy Valley (season 3, one episode); Bluey (season 1, one episode)
  • Tuesday, May 14: After The Party (season 1, two episodes); The Secret Garden (1993)
  • Wednesday, May 15: After The Party (season 1, four episodes)
  • Thursday, May 16: Strictly Ballroom (1992)

*Nine is the owner of Stan and this masthead.
Find out the next TV, streaming series and movies to add to your must-sees. Get The Watchlist delivered every Thursday.



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