ABC News has just launched a new app for all Amazon Fire TVs, Fire TV Sticks, and Fire TV Edition televisions. The app provides a 24/7 live feed in addition to on-demand coverage from shows like Good Morning America, Nightline, 20/20, and more. All of the content, including the live stream, is completely free without requiring any kind of activation or login.
Since the content in the new ABC News app is free without requiring any kind of paid TV subscription, the app is expectedly ad-supported. During my testing, at least one ad played before every video or live stream began playing. (See update note below.) The app divides content into 6 sections, which include Latest News, Topics, Live Now, TV Shows, Originals, and Local. A navigation menu on the left jumps you into the different sections and a vertically scrolling list of content for each section appears on the right. When available, a list of related content is available in a horizontally scrolling list that is accessible along the bottom of the app.
The Latest News section contains a playlist of the top stories. They immediately begin playing when the app launches, which is a bit jarring since it literally results in an ad starting to play, immediately, every time you launch the app. (See update note below.) The Topics section contains groups of related videos, such as the royal wedding and coverage of the Hawaiian volcano eruption. You scroll through available topics horizontally and scroll through videos in each topic vertically.
The Live Now section provides a live stream of what is currently airing on ABC News. This appears to be the same stream that is available at abcnews.go.com/Live. It’s not possible to pause the live feed or rewind. There are several live streams available to watch, although it is unclear exactly where these feeds are from. Some are news coverage feeds, others are off-air live news feeds, and others just seem random, like the live feed of the California Academy of Sciences reef lagoon cam or the Kansas City Zoo penguin cam.
The TV Shows section lists on-demand content from ABC News’ various shows. Those shows include Good Morning America, ABC World News Tonight with David Muir, Nightline, This Week, and 20/20. The content does not include full episodes of these shows, but rather, just lists short clips of specific segments from the shows that are each only a few minutes long.
The Originals section is where you’ll find the longest content available in the app. This section includes more in-depth coverage of various topics from around the world.
The Locals section includes on-demand videos from eight different ABC local news affiliates. The available cities are Chicago, Fresno, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, and San Francisco. These are the same locations that ABC released individual apps for about a year and a half ago. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be an option to watch a live stream of local coverage. You can select any of the cities as a favorite in the app, which moves the city to the front of the list.
This new ABC News app gives Fire TV owners a great new option for live news coverage. It’s especially nice for cord cutters since it does not require any kind of subscription or login to view content or the live stream.
ABC News contacted me to let me know that a bug in the app was causing an ad to play before every video, as I mentioned above. They say that ads were not supposed to play that frequently and that the bug has been fixed. Ads should now play after the first video is viewed, not before, and a second ad shouldn’t be seen until after several additional videos are viewed. As I noted above, it was strange that an ad began playing immediately when the app launched. The ad bug fix should prevent that from happening as well.