Catch-Up TV | What is Catch-Up TV & How To Watch

By James Pickard - Tue 20th May 2014 Guides

Catch-up TV offers content which has recently aired on free-to-air channels operated by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 or Channel 5.  You can access from different web-connected devices and watch when you like.

Catch-Up TV

BBC iPlayer

The BBC catch-up service has proved hugely popular since its initial launch back in 2007.  It has undergone some serious work, with design and usability changes greatly improving the overall experience.

Users can access content from BBC One, Two, Three and Four, as well as CBBC, CBeebies, BBC News, BBC Parliament and Gaelic-language channel BBC ALBA.

You can browse an A-Z of programmes, as well as your own recently watched shows, and there’s a quick search tool.

Accessing BBC iPlayer is easy on your smartphone, with apps available to download for operating systems like Android and iOS, and of course you can watch via your laptop, PC or Mac.  You can also get iPlayer through various web-connected set-top boxes and Smart TVs.

The ITV Hub

The ITV Hub is the home of the ITV Player, which made its debut in 2008, and, as with iPlayer, it has seen some significant changes.  It proves very easy to use, with useful search features and the option to watch live broadcasts of ITV, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4 and CITV.

It is different from its BBC rival in that it actually offers programmes for up to a month after they air on one of its channels.  Each show indicates how much time is left to watch before it becomes unavailable, along with programme’s duration and a brief summary.

As with iPlayer, you can watch content from the ITV Hub on a range of web-connected devices.

All 4

With All 4 you can catch up on shows from Channel 4, 4seven, More4 and E4.  There is a huge library of programmes available, and once aired they remain available via the All 4 site for up to a month, although older epsiodes from various series remain accessible for longer.  Virgin Media customers can also access through their set-top box, but the service limits access to 7 days.

There are parental control options, a quick search, history and favourites, live streaming of channels and an A-Z list of programmes.

You can watch content from All 4 using a number of different web-connected devices, with apps available for watching via your smartphone or tablet.

Demand 5

Demand 5 offers catch-up TV from the last 7 days, with shows from Channel 5, 5USA and 5*.  The service is built to be simple and easy to navigate, with a search function, list of shows and schedule.

You can view a quick list of programmes which aired recently, as well as Most Watched, Most Liked and Most Commented shows, and you can browse by category.
As with the other catch-up services, you can watch through a range of devices, including smartphones and laptops.

Premium content

There is a lot of on demand content available which is offered for a one-off price, or forms part of a subscription-based package.  Sky, Virgin Media, BT and TalkTalk all have various forms of premium content which can be viewed whenever you choose.

If you want to have a bigger library of films and TV shows available with your viewing package then compare digital TV deals to see what’s on offer, and find out more about each one’s on demand services.