It’s been a couple of years since Hulu launched in the US and thus far us Brits haven’t had anything quite the same. We have BBC iPlayer, which is fantastic but only acts as a catch-up service – most of its content expires after 7 days. And there’s Demand Five, 4oD and ITV Player which cover the other main channels, but as they all operate separately – there’s not a single web site for on-demand TV. Until SeeSaw came along.
SeeSaw was originally a joint project between the BBC, Channel 4 and Five called Project Kangaroo, but was halted by the BBC Trust last year. Now operated by Arqiva, it carries programmes from the three partner channels, and in most cases provides whole series. The service is free but supported by advertising, at the start of programmes and also during ad breaks in the middle.
Some highlight include every episode of The Young Ones, and the first three series of . Picture quality varies with BBC productions having a range of bandwidth options but Channel 4 shows set to around 800 Kbps – not great but watchable.
I expect to use SeeSaw a lot as it looks like a great way to watch TV series that I missed when they were broadcast but don’t want to fork out for on DVD or rent. There’s a surprisingly large library of programmes, and though there are some notable omissions (I was hoping to be able to watch Black Books, for example) there’s enough to ensure that I always have something to watch.