TVCatchup is a website that allows you to watch around 30 UK TV channels from your browser, for free. While this is all well and good it was their one year anniversary last week and to celebrate they announced an iPhone version of their website http://iphone.tvcatchup.com.
This is a beta service that allows you to pick up 11 UK channels over wi-fi or 3G. The channels available at the moment are BB1, BBC2, ITV1, Ch4, Ch5, ITV2, BBC Three, Film 4, E4, More 4 and finally 4 Music. To view a channel click on it’s logo, wait for it to buffer and then sit back and relax. The buffer time depends on your 3G/wi-fi speed. In and around Glasgow the wait time on 3G wasn’t too bad. In Portsmouth it was a lot slower so your mileage may vary.
As for the quality itself, I was impressed considering the amount of data to send and it made for a good viewing experience on the iPhone. Click on the stream to cancel back to the webpage and select another channel. That’s it. In fact the quality was far better than the poor quality signal on my hotel’s TV last week.
Channels are streamed around 20 seconds behind the live channels which isn’t an issue for me, especially as the service is free. While this is currently in beta the forums promise more channels to be added and also mention an actual app rather than the web site to access the channels. One wonders if this would be approved due to the streaming requirements on 3G and whether it would be limited to wi-fi only. Maybe the web site is in response to delays in app approvals. Only time will tell. In the meantime, enjoy TV from anywhere you can get a 3G signal. To help, a MovieWedge is worth grabbing too.