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Channel 4 to add back catalogue of programmes to 4oD
Monday 08 June 2009 17:36:29 by John Hunt

Channel 4 will be making its back catalogue of programmes available via its 4oD (4 on-demand) online service from July. It will be adding more than 4,000 hours, around 10,000 programme titles to the service which currently only allows access to the last 30 days. By comparison, the BBC iPlayer only allows you to catch up on the last 7 days of programmes shown.

The newly available content will only include UK shows and not material from the US such as Friends or The Simpsons due to rights/legal issues. Channel 4 news will also not be included as some clips have rights issues which only allow them to be shown on the day of broadcast. The service will continue to be free. Although not everything will be available, this is a step forward to making TV truly on-demand where users can watch whatever they want, whenever they want.


Posted by MONK_DUCK over 8 years ago
Shame they didn't feel the need to make it work on smart phones, netbooks, other mobile devices, oh and of courses Mac users...
Then those Linux users...
Wii users...
The list goes on....
Posted by cyberdoyle over 8 years ago
Doesn't matter which platform it will or won't be supported on, most peeps won't be able to access it anyway with all the capping and throttling and limited access due to legacy network not having the capacity to deliver this next generation of services to anyone further than a couple of miles from an exchange. breathe;) Time to light some fibre.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 8 years ago
Seriously though, it is great that innovation continues, and will do so. It is up to us, the users to make sure the networks are upgraded so this content is available to all who want it. Apart from the odd bit of Father Ted I don't want it, but many people do, and the infrastructure has to be capable of doing whatever we ask of it if we as consumers are prepared to pay for the data transfer.
Posted by cigano over 8 years ago
Great news all online via their website, free streaming, I'm pretty sure the online Catch-up works on mys sisters Mac, cyberdoyle your spot on if the demands there the infrastructure will eventually have to scale to support the demand :-D
Posted by jaucourt over 8 years ago
I actually worked on the new catch-up service, it will work on Macs and (probably, depending on the machine) netbooks, as the player is now flash based. Monk_duck is probably thinking of the old 4od which had to be installed on your pc and you downloaded programmes to watch. It escaped the bandwidth throttling of ISPs though, being that you downloaded the full programme and then watched it. Swings and roundabouts...
Posted by c_j_ over 8 years ago
TheGuardian reports that the service will be available on PC, Mac, and Linux, which is A Good Thing.

DigitalSpy reports that this **replaces** the current download-then-watch 4oD which will not be replaced, which in my opinion is A VERY BAD THING - you can only watch the quality your line permits and you must pay the cost at the time you watch (no off-peak downloading to watch next day).

A very mixed move indeed, if true. I can't find an authoritative source either way.
Posted by Canopus over 8 years ago
Although I have 8 Mb connection I found that I could not watch Channel 4 News when it was streamed as they streamed it at such a high quality. I even asked them if it were possible to give viewers a choice of quality so that those on lower connections could watch it, they thought it was a good idea for the future, but, never implemented it.
Posted by g-bhxu over 8 years ago
No doubt the programmes will be those that have been shown to death on E4!

Posted by TGVrecord over 8 years ago
I tried 4OD a while back but decided to get rid of it as it tied up resources on the PC and did not at that time have any control options like the BBC iPlayer. I seem to recall you had no choice where to download on your hard drive.
Have they improved it?
Posted by Mistyparrot over 8 years ago
This is probably not as good as it seems. Almost all they will have to archive will be interminable runs of Big Brother and its derivatives,
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
the entertianment industry is strangling itself, so many legal issues. Only allowing to watch same day of broadcast? what is that all about.
Posted by herdwick over 8 years ago
"Only allowing to watch same day of broadcast? what is that all about. "

that's what's called television, isn't it ? you watch it at the *time* of broadcast or stick it on a PVR.
Posted by herdwick over 8 years ago
the previous 4oD service is closing, ceasing use of the Kontiki P2P client around the end of June. Some chargeable material is available on iTunes store for download.

The new service is streaming only and "Oh, and non-Windows users will be pleased to know that 4oD Catch-Up on is now Mac and Linux compatible." (email from C4).
Posted by Pigmaster over 8 years ago
I'll be happy if they put all the old Equinox programmes online plus other old Science Documentaries etc that Channel 4 use to pride them selves on before the Big Brother Drivel and "I must swear a lot when on TV" Ramsey and Oliver.

Who is worse? Big brother contestants or the folk that watch them :-)
Posted by c_j_ over 8 years ago
Equinox? Those were the days.

Introducing streaming is fine, abandoning Kontiki (which 4oD uses) is fine, but don't give up on the "download-then-view" approach, it cuts out too many viewers.

Streaming-only *appears* to sort some DRM issues, thus probably justifying this new approach and new content.

In reality what will happen is that the DRM removal will move to a different (unprotected) part of the setup. The captured files will appear in the usual places.

The need for end to end copy protection/"rights enforcement" to stop those approaches was a major driver in MS's Vista OS...

Posted by TGVrecord over 8 years ago
Will it be streaming as per the ITV model that forces you to watch the same advert about 20 times! If so I won't bother.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Well yes, and you know how well Vista has done, c_j_: the "protection's" caused major issues all over the shop with such things as copying files.
Posted by c_j_ over 8 years ago
"Well yes, and you know how well Vista has done, c_j_: the "protection's" caused major issues all over the shop with such things as copying files."

Exactly. But without that end to end protected "trusted computing", the DRM on streamed content is just "security theatre". It can and *will* be defeated (if it hasn't already been).

The fact that it's illegal (in some jurisdictions) to unDRM the stuff hasn't stopped it happening so far and won't stop it in the future.

I'm not suggesting this copyright abuse is a *good* thing, but it is an *inevitable* thing.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
herdwick no thats old fashioned tv, the future of tv is on demand, you watch when you want. The old model is slowly on its way out.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
c_j yes it is inevitable, what I dont like about copyright protection is it is in affect only a hinderance, those that want to breach it will 'always' succeed it is just about garuantueed, I dont know of any protection that hasnt been cracked. Yet the protection put in place often causes inconveniance, such as the vista example and preventing people making legal backup copies of media they have purchased.
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