ABC News app adds support for multi-stream viewing on Apple TV

News junkies, rejoice. ABC News is rolling out an updated Apple TV application, live today, which makes the news division the first to offer asimultaneous multi-stream viewing experience in its tvOSapplication. At launch, there are a dozen different live streams users can choose from, presented in a row as the bottom of the screen.These can be placed in either a dual-screen mode or even a quad-screen view, depending on your preferences.

Its somewhat odd to see a news app pushing forward with a feature like this.

Multiple live streams is something youd normally associate with sports apps like the MLB at Bat Apple TV app, for example, which lets viewers watch games side-by-side. Fox Sports and Canal in France also offer a similar feature.

ABC News, however, sees the chance to use multi-streams as a way to keep up with the massive amount of news content thats on the web daily, including via social platforms like Facebook and Twitter. It almost seems like a response to these platforms move into live streaming content as of late, and comes ahead of Twitters plans to open up its own live streaming API to media companies.

During periods of breaking news, there are often multiple story threads and video sources being surfaced simultaneously the multistream experience helps our users keep an eye on all of the developments without missing a beat, explainsDoug Vance, VP, Product Development at ABC News, as to why the organization wanted to build out a feature like this for Apple TV.

When you first launch the updatedABC News app, youll be shown the top news stories of the day in the main menu. To use the new feature, youll click into the Live Streams section instead of scrolling through the other content.

From here, youll be presented with an interface where you can scroll through the available streams, then click the ones you want to watch in the new, multi-window format.

The live streams are a mix of the live content thats produced by the ABC News team, andsupplemented with content from ABCpartners and affiliates. The streams will include breaking news, political news, lifestyle and entertainment content, the organization says.

These streams are not exclusive to Apple TV, to be clear: they are available on other platforms as well, including the ABC News website, its mobile apps, Roku, and Xbox One.

The multi-stream interface supports botha side-by-side view and a quad-screen view.

With more people leaving behind traditional pay television, like cable TV and satellite, many of the top news networks are having to find new means of distribution including through streaming TV services and standalone news apps.

Having a unique feature like this could make ABCs app more appealing to those in the market for a streaming news option for their big screen. But it will have to compete against the now numerous streaming TV services like Sling, Vue, DirecTV NOW and others, which all offer cable news stations of some sort in their lineup.

If you already have the ABC News app installed on your Apple TV, youll receive the feature automatically through an app update. Or you can download it directly from the Apple TV App Store.

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