Digital TV Guides

On-demand TV

On-demand TV


By 2012 everyone in the UK must have a digital TV connection. This is available in a host of different formats and you can pay for it in loads of different ways too. Updated on 28/01/2009.

As well as offering free-to-view programming, on-demand digital TV allows you to only ever pay for what you want to watch, when you want to watch it.

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What is TV on demand?

On-demand digital TV lets you watch what you want, when you want. It comes in various forms; as either paid-for or free catch-ups, as an add-on to a subscription service, or as a stand-alone service.

It can be received through cable, satellite and broadband TV, or on internet web platforms like the ITV and Channel 4 websites or via the BBC iPlayer and Sky Anytime.

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Why should I get on-demand TV?

With on-demand digital TV you don’t have to watch what’s on the TV guide. It allows you to watch a selection of programmes and movies, at the touch of a button and some services even allow you to select an entire series to store on your digital recorder.

Using an on-demand service like that offered by BT Vision ( means that you can watch normal Freeview ( with the option of adding on programmes and movies from their library and paying for them only when you want - like renting movies without having to leave the house.

What do I need for on-demand TV?

This depends on how you want to watch on-demand programming. Because it covers such a wide area there is loads to choose from:

  • Broadband -You can watch programmes on your computer via your broadband connection, using both free and paid-for services. For example, the ITV on-demand service allows you to watch and download 30-day catch-ups of your favourite entertainment, as well as vintage programming, on the website free of charge.

    There’s also the already massively popular sites Joost and YouTube, where user-generated content can be uploaded and accessed free of charge.

  • Subscription - There are also on-demand services for Tiscali and Virgin Media subscription customers. These providers offer both a free on-demand service as well as paid for options for the latest films, programmes and sporting events.

How much does on-demand TV cost?

Again this depends on how you choose to watch, and what you want to watch. Because there’s so much free content available, you can quite easily take advantage of all the great programmes and movies available without parting with a penny.

However, if you want to want to get the very latest content, or want a free service where you only pay for extras when you choose to, then average costs start from around 29p for a music video going up to around £3.75 for the latest and most popular films.

Read more about each provider with our provider guide or use our price comparison calculator to see what’s available in your area.


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l will be very pleased - Dec 23 2010 9:20PM
sandra, ghana


Am brand new to this forum and just wanted to introduce myself and say "HI".


Cheryl S.
- Jan 8 2010 4:49AM
culpiddidiche, UK

If you already have Sky digital satellite equipment then you will just need to buy a freesat viewing card for £20.
Visit for more information.

- Mar 30 2009 9:21AM
Becca Talbot, UK

I already have sky equipment so how do I get a freesat veiwing card. - Mar 29 2009 5:10PM
Alan Robinson, Ormskirk Lancs

Can I watch 'Enigma' free. Couldn't get it On Demand - Feb 10 2009 12:30PM
Margaret Cooper, UK

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