Playback services at a glance

WHEN the BBC pioneered the internet TV and radio service BBC iPlayer in 2007, it changed the face of terrestrial television. Tailored TV viewing had truly arrived – a more engaging service that made programmes more freely available. Broadcasters are savvy to the demands of viewers and have embraced the smart TV and the age of the mobile device. With the development of apps, a more personalised service is on offer. City A.M. revisits the key players from the broadcasters in the TV catch-up field. Additional research: Caty Hirst

What’s the deal?

The 4oD catchup service was re-launched at the end of August and improvements included the “My 4oD” section, which requires a username and password. The benefits include the creation of playlists and reminders for your favourite shows. Programmes stay available for 30 days after broadcasting and you can access them from your iPad, iPhone and iPad via the app that was made available from September. There’s also an impressive film collection from Film 4oD.

TV stations: Channel 4, E4, More4, 4Music

BBC iPlayer
What’s the deal?

The daddy of the internet playback service. When it launched, programmes were available for catchup for seven days, but now there’s series catch-up where they are available until seven days after the series has finished – great for recreating the box-set experience of blitzing several episodes in one go. For those who travel a lot, a global commercial version of iPlayer is available for your iPad through a subscription service. Users can pay €6.99 a month or €49.99 a year. Unfortunately, HD is not available yet on iPad.

TV stations: BBC1, BBC2, BBC3, BBC4, cbbc, cbeebies, BBC parliament, BBC news, BBC HD

ITV player
What’s the deal?

ITV Player is a 30 day catch up service that’s free and funded by advertising. Though it did crash in mid-September at the advent of Downton Abbey, it’s generally reliable. ITV is working on some innovations that promise to beat the other players – and there’s also talk of an app for mobile devices later this year.

TV stations: ITV1, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4 and CITV

Demand 5
What’s the deal?

If you’ve missed your regular Neighbours/Ultimate Fighting/CSI viewing you can use this catch up service from Channel 5. Demand 5 launched on Facebook last year and was the first television network to embed its programming into the social networking site. The service is easy to use and intuitive, though the film collection is slight. The biggest attraction is the access to 5* and 5USA.

TV stations: Channel 5, 5* and 5USA