It came as a surprise to everyone tonight when Apple announced that they would be live streaming video of their September media event across the web. The news, however, was somewhat dulled by the fact that Apple announced that the stream will only be viewable on an OS X 10.6 Mac or an iOS device (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad). The reason for the limitation isn’t entirely arbitrary, as Apple is using a new streaming technology called HTTP Live Streaming which was introduced alongside Snow Leopard’s QuickTime X and iOS 3.0.
While the protocol has been proposed as a standard, so far Apple is one of a few companies who has implemented it. As a result, the video will only be easily viewable on the specified platforms. There seem to be some advantages to the system over existing streaming technologies. Notably, there should be no router/firewall issues as the stream is sent over standard HTTP protocols.
If you’re not sure you will be able to view stream, you can try loading this HTTP Live sample stream that Apple has provided.