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UK Channel 4 Offers Live TV Over Broadband

Informitv reports that Channel 4 will become the first major UK broadcaster to provide its programming live on the Internet.

Programmes originally commissioned by the channel will be made available to registered users through the Channel 4 web site, allowing them to be seen online at the same time as their television transmission.

The service will not initially include acquired programmes and films. A loop of Channel 4 promotions will be broadcast where online rights are not available. The same commercials will be carried as on the television channel, but there are plans to sell specific advertising spots for broadband viewers in the future.

Individual programmes, notably 'Big Brother,' have offered live streams online for many years in the UK, but this is the first time that a major channel has made the majority of its programmes available on the web.

Channel 4 is planning to make its programmes available for viewing on demand, following an agreement struck with independent producers. It has already begun on-demand streaming of imported shows 'Lost' and 'Desperate Housewives,' making it the first broadcaster outside the United States to reach such a deal.

The channel is also moving into radio, having already launched a virtual station online, and is looking to bid for a national digital radio licence.

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