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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 December 2006, 11:42 GMT
C4 launches programmes on demand
Robert Lindsay and Lindsay Duncan in GBH
1991 political drama GBH is among archive shows available
Channel 4 has launched an on-demand service that lets viewers catch up with their favourite programmes online.

Viewers are able to download most of the channel's current schedule for up to 30 days after transmission or choose programmes from its archives.

Charges for the 4 on Demand service start at 99p per show, with monthly subscriptions planned for the new year.

Channel 4 said it was the first major broadcaster in the world to offer all its home-grown programming on demand.

The service is available on cable TV and computers, onto which viewers can download all Channel 4 programmes made in this country plus a few imported shows, such as Desperate Housewives.

Personalised library

Downloading can take up to one-and-a-half times the length of the programme.

But Channel 4 says in time, on demand services will change the way people watch television.

Only users of PCs running Windows XP and Media Player 10 and above can use the service.

The agreement covers all home-grown shows commissioned since June.

Each programme will "disappear" from users' computers 48 hours after they start to watch.

It will be kept in a personalised library until it is first viewed and then can be accessed an unlimited number of times during that two-day period.

Channel 4 said it had signed contracts with almost 100 independent production companies, including Endemol, which makes Big Brother, and would also offer selected films under the same terms for 1.99.

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