From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

TVCatchup website as of 2013
Type of businessPrivate company
Type of site
Internet television
Area servedUnited Kingdom
Current statusOffline

TVCatchup was an Internet television service for viewing free-to-air UK channels. It operated as a cable service and retransmitted BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5, and ITV, amongst others, only in the UK. Users were able to access the service via desktop browsers as well as smartphone and tablet apps. The service was funded by advertising, with advertisements preceding the live channel stream.

The service was originally launched in 2007 as a personal video recorder in the cloud, before being redesigned as a live-streaming service. As of October 2013, it had nearly 10 million active users, according to the company,[1] with 2 million viewers tuning in to the service to watch the England versus Poland FIFA World Cup qualifier on 15 October 2013.[2]

On 4 June 2014 TVCatchup Ltd went into administration by order of London's High Court of Justice.[3] The service remained online, despite winding up and liquidation orders made in May 2015. In August 2017, Bruce Pilley, a former director of the company, was banned from being a company director for nine years for failing to disclose that the company had a winding-up order against it when drawing down a loan.[4]


TVCatchup retransmitted free-to-air channels appearing on Freeview and Freesat within the UK. Users were able to view up to 17 channels live via the Internet.[5]

As of 17 September 2013, the website also offered a catchup service, providing listings for recently aired programmes from the UK's four largest broadcasters, and redirects viewers to their on-demand services.[6][7]

It was possible to record TV in 2007, but that functionality was removed in 2008. The company said in 2010 that the facility would be returning to the site.[5]


The following channels were available to all United Kingdom television licence holders:

Category Channels[8]
Entertainment BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Alba, BBC Four, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, S4C, Quest
Music VIVA
News BBC News, BBC Parliament, Al Jazeera English, RT, CCTV News
Kids CBBC, CBeebies
Sport Sail TV
General BBC Red Button

Community Channel, Gala TV, Millenium TV, Subtv

Shopping Craft Extra, Create And Craft, Ideal Extra, Ideal World, TV Warehouse, QVC, QVC Beauty, QVC Extra, QVC Style


TVCatchup owned its entire infrastructure. In 2010 it was reported that the network had a capacity for 50 GBps.[5]


The service was accessed through desktop browsers with Adobe Flash installed. It can also be viewed on the Windows Media Center functions of Windows Vista[9] (Home Premium and Ultimate) and Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005.[10]

TVCatchup was accessible on mobile devices through a range of free apps. An iOS app was released on the iTunes Store in 2011 for both iPhone and iPad. The app was compatible with Apple Airplay, meaning it can be viewed on a TV set. The app can be set to receive only via WiFi, to avoid incurring potentially high streaming costs.[11] An Android app was released in September 2012, available from the Google Play store.[12] In December 2012, an app was launched for the Kindle HD Fire tablet.[citation needed] In February 2013, an app was launched for Windows Phone 8.[13] All mobile devices can access the service through their browsers.

There is a plug-in available for XBMC.[14] It used to be watchable on a PS3,[15] however as of a firmware update in 2010 this is no longer possible.[16]

There was also an Adobe AIR desktop application released in Beta mode on 28 April 2009 for the Ubuntu 8.10 operating system, which was to be gradually updated to include features such as a full TV guide and PVR.[17]

TVCatchup released an Adobe AIR cross-platform desktop PVR into Beta mode on 8 May 2014, with features including a full TV guide, pop out player and PVR .[18]

Dispute with G Zero[edit]

In December 2015, TVCatchup announced on their site that they had commenced legal action against G Zero Ltd, an app developer it had originally contracted to provide mobile apps for its service. It is claimed that GZero used TVCatchup's IP to create and launch their own app, ToView Live TV which offers a similar service using both an advertising and subscription model. ToView is, according to the complaint, a re-brand of the original TVCatchup app.[19] As of February 2016, this legal action is still pending and the GZero app is still available in app stores.[20][21] TVCatchup relaunched their app in December 2015.[22]


TVCatchup retransmits free-to-air channels over the Internet on the basis of section 73 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988), which allows for the retransmission of 'qualifying services'. Its status as a cable service was challenged by ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, when they issued legal proceedings in June 2010.[23] In the hearings held in June 2011, Lord Justice Floyd in the High Court of Justice ruled that TVCatchup's defence relying on s.73 of the CDPA 1988 was valid. The judgement expressly excludes retransmission of any other channels under these provisions as well as retransmission to 3G mobile devices, home WiFi Mobile reception remains unaffected.[24] In a court order dated 7 October 2013, the High Court ruled that TVCatchup should cease retransmitting the 'digital channels' of ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 but not the principal channels. TVCatchup was also required to deposit an amount of £200,000 in lieu of costs[25] and ordered to cease retransmission by mobile broadband, although it has been granted leave to appeal this decision. Meanwhile, reception by WiFi remains permissible.[26]

On 26 March, the Court of Appeal dismissed TVCatchup's appeal, meaning the PSB channels may only be streamed by WifI. On the same day, the Department for Culture, Media & Sport published an open consultation on the balance of payments between television platforms and public service broadcasters within which the department stated the government's intention to repeal section 73.[27]

Although the Welsh public service broadcaster S4C is covered under the provisions of the CDPA 1988, the channel entered into a formal carriage agreement with TVCatchup in August 2013.[28]

The site was initially conceived as an online PVR service, where users could select shows from one of 30 free-to-air channels to record up to one week in advance of their broadcast.[29] However, following concerns from broadcasters about the functionality of the site, TVCatchup voluntarily suspended its services while their concerns were addressed.[30][31][32]


iOS app

According to the Apple App Store listing for the iOS app, the company who published the app was Toyon Investments Limited.[33]

Companies House, in the UK, report that company as being "dissolved" on 26 February 2019,[34] which will likely be the reason behind the discontinuation of the streaming service.

Android app

The Android app is published by a company called Spaceshifting, LLC., and as-of March 2021 is still available to download in the Google Play Store,[35] despite the listing stating the last update published for the app was made on 16 October 2017, and most recent user comments reporting the app as being non-functional.[35]

According to, this was a company registered in Nevada, USA, and it declared "dissolution" on 8 February 2018.[36]

Social media

As of March 2021, a Twitter account still exists for, but has not posted since 14 March 2019.[37]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "TVCatchup claim to be in a great position after ruling". BBC Newsbeat. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  2. ^ Merriman, Chris (17 October 2013). "TV Catchup shows up ITV with two million football views". The Inquirer. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2013.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  3. ^ "Appointment of Administrators". The London Gazette. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  4. ^ "Transmission interrupted: director of TV streaming app disqualified for 9 years". The Insolvency Service. 7 August 2017. Archived from the original on 7 August 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Gilson, David (2 March 2010). "TVCatchup: Behind the scenes at the video-streaming service". CNET UK. Archived from the original on 6 December 2010. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  6. ^ Gibbs, Samuel (18 September 2013). "TVCatchup expands service – with actual catchup TV". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  7. ^ "TVCatchup adds catch-up TV for UK's major broadcasters". Engadget. 17 September 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  8. ^ "TVCatchup – Watch TV Online for Free & Never Miss A Show Again". TVCatchup. Archived from the original on 1 December 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  9. ^ "Vista Media Center Beta Testers Wanted". studly_steve007. Archived from the original on 5 February 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2009.
  10. ^ "Media Center 2005 beta testers wanted". studly_steve007. Archived from the original on 5 February 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2009.
  11. ^ "TVCatchup for iOS review". Macworld UK. 25 April 2012. Archived from the original on 16 July 2012. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  12. ^ "TV Catchup lands on Google Play". Digital Spy. 4 September 2012. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  13. ^ "TVCatchup reaches Windows Phone 8 in the UK". Engadget. 31 January 2013. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  14. ^ Schofield, Jack (24 August 2012). "Choosing parts for a £1,000 games PC". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^[dead link]
  17. ^ "TVCatchup's desktop Application Guide". TV Catchup team. Archived from the original on 7 May 2009. Retrieved 30 April 2009.
  18. ^ "Record". TVCatchup. Archived from the original on 10 May 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  19. ^ "TVCatchup - Watch TV Online for Free & Never Miss A Show Again". TVCatchup. Archived from the original on 27 February 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  20. ^ "ToView Live TV on the App Store". Archived from the original on 2 March 2016.
  21. ^ "TVCatchup - Aplikacije za Android v storitvi Google Play". Archived from the original on 10 October 2012.
  22. ^ "TVCatchup - Watch Free Live TV". App Store.
  23. ^ Bradshaw, Tim (10 June 2010). "TVCatchup website faces legal challenge". Financial Times. London. Retrieved 10 June 2010.
  24. ^ ITV Broadcasting Ltd & Ors v TV Catchup Ltd, [2011 EWHC 1874 (Pat)] (18 July 2011) ("The section 73 defence applies to the qualifying services, but not in respect of re-transmission to mobile phones or of out of area services.").
  25. ^ "High Court Sealed Order" (PDF). 7 October 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  26. ^ Farber, Alex (11 October 2013). "TVCatchUp ordered to remove PSB digital channels". Broadcast. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  27. ^ "The balance of payments between television platforms and public service broadcasters: Consultation Paper". 26 March 2015.
  28. ^ Clover, Julian (6 August 2013). "S4C plans new catch-up services". Broadband TV News. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  29. ^ Sweeney, Mark (17 December 2007). "TVCatchup faces legal battle". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 21 November 2008.
  30. ^ Clover, Julian (19 February 2008). "Copyright catches up with TVCatchup". Broadband TV News. London. Retrieved 10 June 2010.
  31. ^ Kiss, Jemima (18 February 2008). "TVCatchup suspended after complaints". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 21 November 2008.
  32. ^ Kiss, Jemima (19 February 2008). "TVCatchup – filling the gaps left by broadcasters?". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 21 November 2008.
  33. ^ "TVCatchup - Watch Free Live TV on the App Store". Archived from the original on 13 January 2016.
  34. ^ "TOYON INVESTMENTS LIMITED - Overview (Free company information from Companies House)".
  35. ^ a b "TVCatchup - Watch Free Live TV - Apps on Google Play". Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  36. ^ "Spaceshifting LLC :: Wyoming (US) :: OpenCorporates". Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  37. ^ "TVCatchup (@TVCatchup)".

External links[edit]