What is catch up TV?

25 May 2015

You no longer have to be in front of your TV at the right time to watch your favourite programme. Here’s all you need to know about catch up TV.



These days, missing a TV show isn’t a problem. Most of the UK's major broadcasters offer a catch up TV service. And catch up TV is exactly as its name implies – you can ‘catch up’ on TV shows that you have missed.

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Catching up on your computer

If you want to watch catch up TV on your computer, this is what you need to know:

  • BBC programmes are available free of charge for up to seven days after they are first aired. You can find them on the BBC iPlayer
  • ITV programmes are available for streaming for 30 days on the ITV Hub.
  • Channel 4 programmes are available on 4 on Demand.
  • My5 has free and subscription catch-up TV for all their Channel 5 channels, including 5 USA and the children’s channel, Milkshake. Find out more about available services here.
  • If you are not a Sky TV customer, you can join the Sky Go subscription service. If you are a subscriber, the service comes free with your package.

Freeview? Cable? What are the different types of television service?

Catch up TV on your TV set

If you have a digital TV set, you no longer have to be a slave to the programming schedule. Catch up TV is available from most popular subscription services:

  • YouView is the service from BT. It gives you access to catch up TV from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. You need a subscription to receive this service. 
  • If you’re with Virgin Media, you can watch catch up TV from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5. The “on demand” service is free with all Virgin Media packages.
  • TalkTalk TV offers catch-up TV from all the terrestrial broadcasters, as well as from channels like FX and Sky. You will need a TalkTalk set-top box and subscription to their service for access.You can boost the channels you receive on a monthly basis, so can get extra channels with no ongoing commitment.
  • With Sky+ and the latest Freeview and Freesat boxes, you can watch catch up TV from most of the major broadcasters such as the BBC and ITV.

Today, more viewers are switching to services that have more catch up offerings. This is good news for all of us who like to keep up with our favourite TV shows, but don’t like to arrange our lives around a broadcaster’s schedule.

We can look forward to more catch up TV in the future as service providers catch up with viewer preferences.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.