If you’ve got a games console hooked up to that huge flatscreen TV in your living room, why not use it to catch up on the TV you may have missed?
From BBC iPlayer to Sky Player, each console offers access to different services using an internet connection to stream the shows direct to your telly.
Here’s how to get the best from each of the big three machines, the Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii.
Xbox.com – Xbox 360 users can watch a wide range of past programmes from across the Sky network, including channels Sky1, Sky Sports, Sky Movies, Sky Arts and National Geographic.
You must have an Xbox LIVE Gold account and if you’re not a Sky subscriber you simply pay on demand for content. Otherwise you get access to the same sort of programming you have available through your Sky box.
Programmes can be downloaded to the console’s hard drive, though there’s no high definition content at present and not all shows are available.
The Xbox 360 console is currently the only one to offer direct and authorised access to Sky channels.
It’s still not possible to get BBC iPlayer directly on the Xbox, though the BBC hopes to make it available in the future.
Additionally, as there is no official web browser on this gaming system, it’s not possible to access other on-demand websites.
This makes it near impossible to watch any of the terrestrial TV broadcasters on the Xbox 360.
It’s easy to watch BBC programmes (or catch up on BBC radio) via the dedicated iPlayer Wii channel. Add it for free by visiting the Wii Shop and download it straight to the console. All content is free, and it works just like it does on your PC or Mac.
Other catch-up services, such as ITV Player, 4oD and Demand Five, are available to watch via the built-in Opera browser (accessed via the internet channel), though the experience can be a little clunky without an attached keyboard. The video doesn’t always work as well as on a standalone PC either.
You can also view some legitimately recorded and distributed content from Channel 4 and Five via YouTube.
Sony PlayStation 3
BBC iPlayer is available on PS3s running console software version 3.0 or higher by selecting the TV menu option and then BBC iPlayer. It works much the same as the Wii version.
Like the Wii, the PS3 has a built-in web browser making it possible to visit other broadcasters’ web sites or YouTube. Not all of these will function exactly the same as they do on a standard PC.
Get watching now
As you can see, your gaming console is a pretty versatile piece of kit. Armed with your new knowledge you can happily annoy the rest of your family with re-runs of EastEnders, Come Dine With Me and Are You Smarter Than A 10-Year-Old. Ironically, your 10-year-old may already know how to do this!