TVCatchup has such a misleading name, it’s amazing the company’s employees don’t turn up at work every morning to find Trading Standards on their doorstep.
It isn’t a catch-up service: the original plans to offer archive shows were scuppered by rights holders. But it’s an easy way to stream live TV via your PC.
The list of major channels on offer is impressive: all five of the terrestrial channels and their associated spin-offs (think ITV2, BBC Four and Film 4).
It’s an easy way to stream live TV via your PC.
There’s also a small selection of the commercial channels that you’ll find on Freeview, such as Dave, Sky News and Yesterday. All in, there are 39 channels to choose from.
The picture quality is, alas, a little less impressive. The 1.5Mbits/sec high-quality streams were recently removed (apparently due to lack of demand), leaving viewers with standard-quality 768Kbits/sec streams.
These proved bearable in the site’s generously sized video window, but began to break up at full screen on our 13in laptop and were pretty much unwatchable on our 38in TV.
Nevertheless, if you want to keep an eye on the football on a secondary screen or can’t wrest control of the remote control in the living room, it’s a handy and – let’s not forget – free service.
There are other gotchas: registration is compulsory, and the pre-roll adverts and advertising borders that surround the video window do grate a little.
In fact, the viewing experience is much better on the iPhone and iPad, which have dedicated websites, so you don’t even need to download an app.
Internet TV software reviewed:
4 on Demand
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