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Catchup TV. While you can view old programs on Virgin and Sky services you can also 'Catchup' on your computer or tablet. Go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/, www.itv.com/itvplayer, Channel four on www.4od.com, Channel 5 on www.channel5.com Even non Sky subscribers can pay for Sky from £15 a month for certain channels. It is free for Sky subscribers.
Radio too ! http://www.radioplayer.co.uk/
These days one can view dozens of live or repeat TV programs with a basic PC, providing your have at least 2Mb broadband and have a modern browser such as Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome. You may also need Adobe Flash Player. Bear in mind that streaming TV may transfer as much as 2Gb of information and hour. Check whether your ISP puts a monthly limit on your usage - or you may find that you are paying more. In the strange world of copyright one should be aware of the rules. Firstly you don't need a TV license to view BBC programs that are not being broadcast live. Most programs are only made available for a limited time. You may be able to download them for viewing later (if you have a very large hard disk) but DRM (Digital Rights Management) technology is often used to make sure a film is only viewed a limited number of times or for a set time period. And on-demand catalogues do not usually include movies. These normally cost money and, if so, are likely to have DRM to limit them to one PC or a limited number of devices
Another place with around 40 channels is
This is free.
All you have to put up with is an initial advertisement.
I had a good look round Tvcatchup. You have to sign then, to get to actual programs, click on Channels, rather than TV Guide. If you go that way and click on the Green channels you don't get anywhere. The adverts I saw were for O2 Priority football tickets and Fisherman's friend. The pictures were not full size on screen but were clear and the sound was OK. After the advert there is a period of 'buffering' (downloading) before the picture comes alive. I looked at Sky3, Five USA and Virgin 1. My broadband is currently running at 10Meg but there was still a delay. Not worth trying this with dialup. Want to check your broadband speed? Try http://www.broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk/ I could have downloaded some of the programs (using RealPlayer) but others blocked this facility.
If you are a football (or other sports) fan then you are also in luck. Free football channels can be found at http://www.footballstreamings.com, and http://www.free-football.tv/
For a fee you can join http://watchlivefootball.tv/
There are also some free TV programs on www.blinkbox.com,(now Talktalk) www.lovefilm.com(via Amazon) but some are charged. For Sky subscribers there is free access to their list.
Many videos can be downloaded to your PC using the latest Real Player. Real Player also has a facility to convert such videos to various other formats.
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