Streaming TV: Telly on demand

Streaming TV: Telly on demand

T3 0
  • Make your own schedule with UK telly on tap

    We may have just reached rock bottom for Sky Sports packages this week, but the Beeb and Sky's positions as leaders of streaming TV on-demand are no longer looking so unassailable. All of the UK's terrestrial channels now have online catch-up services and it’s clear that video on demand (VOD) has taken off in a big way.

    With streaming services left and right chomping at the bit to offer HD broadcasts, can the big two keep their lead? Take a look at the contenders for our on-demand TV affections below, then cast your vote for our New Media Service of the Year at this year's T3 Gadget Awards.

    Best... overall: BBC iPlayer
    With hi-def added to its slick interface and good catch up service, it’s good enough to view full-screen on a 27-inch screen, but does eat bandwidth. Shows can be viewed on major mobile devices and via Virgin Media, the PS3, Wii and more, and this is not only the best VOD service there is, it’s also free. Advantage Auntie.
    LOVE: HD content. Very reliable. It’s also free  HATE: No older shows



    Best... for Sky subscribers: Sky Player
    You don’t need a Sky box to use Sky Player online, but unless you’re an existing Sky customer you will have to pay extra. With viewing quality that’s comparable to Freeview and simple onscreen controls, this is a great way to get Sky in a second room without investing in a second Sky box, but the charges for renting or buying shows will mount. Also available on Xbox.
    LOVE: Sky in a second room. Fantastic interface  HATE: It’s far from free



    Best... middle of the road viewing: ITV Player
    ITV Player gives access to the last 30 days of ITV content on a PC, Mac, or via Virgin Media, as well as streaming some shows live as they air. There are ads, alas. Content is largely the brainless tat you’d expect – the top-rated shows are Coronation Street and Peter Andre: The Next Chapter. Full-screen mode is bloody awful, too.
    LOVE: Simple interface  HATE: No HD. Dubious quality of content



    Best... range: See Saw
    The 'Dave' of the VOD services, See Saw offers a good selection of programming from the Beeb, Channel 4, Five, and a range of US premium series. Some content is free, but you'll be forking out up to £1.19 for most popular series. Searching is a cinch, with content divisible into both categories and 'collections' - programme listings sorted roughly by viewer age and gender.
    LOVE: Collections feature  HATE: £1.19 rentals are pretty steep



    Best... archived material: 4OD
    Content from Channel 4, E4 and More4. It comes in rather low-def, pixellated form and has adverts before and sometimes during each show, although less than you’d endure watching shows as they air. That said, the amount and quality of archived content is impressive. Recent shows are available for 28 days after transmission, but rights issues rule out The Simpsons among others.
    LOVE: Classic content. Wide availability  HATE: Poor quality stream



    Best... style over content: Demand Five
    As well as streaming shows from the past 30 days, replete with ads, this lets you rent or buy them in standard or (rarely) hi-def quality. With a portable download service, viewer star ratings for shows and being able to pre-order content, it’s a sharp service; the only teensy problem is that, CSI, FlashForward and The Gadget Show aside, 'most everything that Five broadcasts is twaddle.
    LOVE: Mobile versions of downloads. Some HD  HATE: It’s Five...
     

Comments

Be the first to comment…

Back to top
Close
T3 Newsletter
Sign up to recieve the T3 newsletters by entering your details below

Your Details

As you're registering with us. we'd like to think that you'd enjoy receiving the following emails; if you'd rather not receive them, please untick the boxes:

I would like to receive other emails from T3, Future Publishing Limited and it's group companies containing news, special offers and product information
I agree to the terms of use and privacy policy and confirm that I am over 16 years of age *
Close
Log in or Join

By clicking below you agree to our terms and conditions and our privacy policy

Log in to T3.com with your preferred social network

Log in with your T3.com account

CloseJoinPlease complete these additional details

Join T3.com with your preferred social network

OR

Join T3.com

Please tick this box to confirm you are 16 years old or over

Just so we know you're human

Newsletters

I would like to receive T3 email newsletters, packed full of the latest tech news, competitions and exclusive offers.

I would like to receive other emails from T3, Future Publishing Limited and its group companies containing news, special offers and product information.

I would like to receive offers from carefully selected third Parties. We will not share your data with the third party.

Close Edit your profile

Change your password

Newsletters

I would like to receive T3 email newsletters, packed full of the latest tech news, competitions and exclusive offers.

I would like to receive other emails from T3, Future Publishing Limited and its group companies containing news, special offers and product information.

I would like to receive offers from carefully selected third Parties. We will not share your data with the third party.

Social networks

You have authorised these social networks to interact with your T3.com account.

Please ensure you deactivate or revoke access to this website from within your social networks settings to ensure all permissions are removed.

Close Forgotten your password

Forgotten your password?

Please enter the email address that you used to sign up and we'll send you a new password

Close
Forgotten password
Don't have a T3 Account? Join now