Live TV on the iPhone – Livestation previews its app

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.