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Catch Up TV in the UK
Missed a TV show in the last seven days? Use a catch-up TV service. We look at the various catch-up TV options
What is Catch-up TV?
These days, missing a TV programme isn't a problem - most of the UK's main broadcasters offer a "catch-up" TV service. These are usually Internet-based, and let you watch TV shows that you may have missed up to seven days ago
Catch Up TV services let you watch shows you've missed on a computer, or on your TV.
What you need to know
It's important to note that typically Catch Up TV only lets you watch content that's been created for the broadcaster... so, for example, with 4oD, you'll find Hollyoaks and Big Brother, but not an imported show like Friends that's shown on E4.
BBC shows for the last seven days are available free of charge via the BBC iPlayer.
Watch on a computer: Available on Windows, Mac and Linux via bbc.co.uk/iplayer
Also available: BBC iPlayer is also available on mobile phones such as the iPhone, as well as on some games consoles. The iPlayer is available as a dedicated Nintendo Wii channel. iPlayer on Wii
- BBC shows are also available in High Definition via iPlayer.
- Radio shows are also available from the BBC iPlayer
ITV Shows : ITV Player
Content from ITV1, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4 and CITV is available on the ITV Player.
Watch on a computer: Content is available to stream for 30 days for free via itv.com/ITVPlayer
Watch on a computer: Available on Windows, Mac and Linux via channel4.com/programmes/4od
Five : Demand 5
Catch up with content from Channel 5, 5*, 5 USA and kids TV service Milkshake. Free content, download shows to rent for 14 days from 99p, or HD shows from £1.99, or buy them for keeps.
Watch on a TV: Demand 5 is available on-demand from BT Vision
Watch on a computer: Via demand.five.tv
Sky : Sky Go
Sky TV customers can watch and download programmes from over 30 channels for FREE on a PC, tablet or mobile phone using the Sky Go service. Non-Sky TV customers can subscribe to Sky Go to watch live TV channels and a selection of programmes on demand. Live TV is available, including Sky Sports, Sky Movies, Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, G.O.L.D, Eden, MTV, and ESPN.
Watch on a computer: Available on Windows PC on the Sky Go Website
Watch on a TV: A small selection of content is available via Sky Anytime - downloaded automatically to reserved disk space on Sky+ and Sky+HD boxes.
Also available: You can also access the Sky Player via a Microsoft XBox 360 and on an iPhone / iPad.
Digital TV Services offering Catch-up TV
The best way to watch TV is on a TV set, and not on a PC screen - so here's our round-up of the TV services that offer catch-up TV on your telly.
BT Vision: Watch Catch-up TV from BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and 5.
The new YouView TV service offers access to BBC, ITV, 4oD and Demand 5 on your TV. The service is subscription-free, and offers a clever 7-day backwards EPG for easy access to show that you've missed over the past week. A great way of watching catch-up on your telly.
BT Vision offers BBC, ITV, 4oD and Demand 5 on your TV. The TV Replay service on BT Vision is included for free as part of TV packages.
Virgin Media offers catch-up TV content from BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5. It's free with all TV packages.
Sadly, no catch-up TV services for BBC, ITV, Channel 4, or Channel 5.
However, If you have a Sky+ or Sky+HD box, there's a small selection of Sky content downloaded to part of the hard drive as part of their Sky Anytime service, but it's pretty limited. There are rumours that as Sky's boxes have an Ethernet socket, they may start a true on-demand service at some point in the future.
TalkTalk TV (formerly Tiscali TV) offers catch-up TV from BBC, Channel 4 and FX for free. This is delivered via your phone line to a special Tiscali TV set-top box that's connected to your TV.
|Top Up TV||
Top Up TV offers a small selection of content downloaded overnight onto a hard-disk in their set-top box. Content includes some BBC content - not a full catch-up service, but some missed content is available.
Fetch TV offers something called Smartbox 8000 which offers BBC iPlayer and selected content from Channel 4, Sky Sports News, Discovery Channel and CNN. We've not been able to test this, so can't recommend it at this time.
More details on our Fetch TV Information page
LATEST: Fetch TV Goes Into Administration (January 2012)
|Freeview||No Catch-up TV service offered as standard, but some TV sets and Freeview boxes offer access to BBC iPlayer.|
|Freesat||No Catch-up TV service offered as standard, but some Freesat boxes offer access to BBC iPlayer.|
Worth a mention:
- Blinkbox - Shows and movies to download and keep over the Internet
- iTunes - Download recent TV shows for your Mac, PC or iPhone
- Jump TV - TV content from over 60 countries
Other Internet TV services listed on our UK Internet TV page.
PODCAST FEATURE: We featured Catch-Up TV in Show 42 of our online radio show.
Listen to the show online, or download it to your MP3 player.
Listen to Show 42 | What is FrequencyCast? | Add us to iTunes
- UK TV Overseas - Details on how to get British TV abroad
- Unofficial Guide to the BBC iPlayer - More on the BBC's on demand service
- On your PC - How to get TV and radio on your PC or laptop