Who needs to watch TV live these days?
There was once a time when if you didn’t tune in to see your favourite telly programme at the exact time it started, then you’d miss it forever.
Along came VHS video and that all changed, followed by DVD recording and now hard disk Digital Set Top recorders such as Sky+, Virgin TiVo and Freeview+. But even then having your shows saved onto a box in the living room means you need to be at home to view them – and you are only able to watch what you remembered to record.
And that’s where catch-up TV comes in. Here’s a quick guide to the latest ways to watch what you want to watch, when you want to watch it.
The easiest way to view on-demand is through the catch-up websites for each TV channel. You’ll find them below. Some such as the BBC, ITV and Sky allow you to watch live while the likes of ITV and 4oD including other sub-channels such as ITV2 and E4.
Sky customers can use Sky Go by registering and logging in - it will provide access to all the shows and channels that come as part of the user’s monthly TV subscription.
Virgin Media customers can experience all the channels that come as part of their monthly subscription using the Virgin Media player on a computer. It also features seven day’s worth of catch-up for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five making it a one-stop shop for telly addicts.
This TV website features more than 40 channels to catch-up on and is also available as an app for the iPhone and iPad.
Apparently in the week after Christmas, more than 80 million catch-up TV apps were downloaded to smartphones. Their popularity has exploded in recent months and even the BBC has noted this, moving the iconic Sunday afternoon omnibus of EastEnders to late-night weekdays because so many people are now using the web to watch episodes they’ve missed of the Albert Square soap. If you own an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet, then there’s plenty of ways to tune in on the move…
There is currently no Android app for Channel 4 catch-up but you can use an iOS device such as an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to watch your favourites such as Hollyoaks.
5 on Demand
Like 4oD, Five is only available on iOS with an Android version still yet to come.
Using a PS3 hooked up to the internet, you can watch BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and 4oD.
Microsoft Xbox 360
BBC iPlayer has just launched on the Xbox 360 as part of the Microsoft console’s new dashboard. It also now includes Channel 4, Five and Sky. Those who own the motion sensor Kinect accessory can select channels and programmes using voice commands and hand gestures.
If you own Nintendo’s movement sensing console, then BBC iPlayer can be found as one of the Wii Channels.
Many Smart TVs include apps for catching up on programmes you’ve missed. The likes of those from Samsung, Sony, Panasonic and LG all can be connected to the internet to tune in when you want. You can read more about Smart TVs in our Buying Guide. You can find out more details about Smart TVs here too.
If you are a Sky customer, you can now access Sky Anytime+, whatever broadband provider you are with. Previously, it was only available to Sky Broadband subscribers. It’s filled with dozens of hours of TV and movies, streamed on your TV through the Sky+ box and an internet connection, either wired or Wi-Fi. See the Anytime+ section of the Sky website for more information and to activate the service.
A similar service to Sky Anytime+, this will allow you to catch-up with a range of programmes as well as hook in to the catch-up services from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five.
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