4OD is getting a new name and new look. Channel 4's online catch-up and on-demand service will be rebranded next year, combining live telly, current episodes and classic series in one service called All 4 -- but it's back to square one for Android users.
The new look will be introduced from the end of Q1 2015, so that's some time next spring. At first it will work online on your PC and on Apple iOS devices -- the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch -- and will expand to other digital platforms during 2015. That could well be a source of frustration for owners of Android devices, which only got access to 4OD last year, some six years after the service first launched.
Channel 4's online streaming service has been around since 2006, and claims to have signed up more than half of the UK's 16-34 year-olds. Although the inevitable but relatively recent arrival of unskippable ads has taken the shine off a bit, 4OD brilliantly distinguishes itself from, say, the BBC's iPlayer by being stuffed full of classics from the channel's archive of shows -- often in their entirety. So you can watch every episode of classic British TV series from "Peep Show", "Shameless", "The IT Crowd", "Skins", "Father Ted", "Spaced", "The Inbetweeners", "Black Books", and "Misfits" right back to "Traffik", "Brass Eye", "Desmond's", "Queer as Folk", "Lipstick on Your Collar", "Drop the Dead Donkey" and "The Comic Strip". Plus a lot of John Simm.
Channel 4 trumpets that All 4 will have more options for personalisation, giving you "an increasingly bespoke set of content and related experiences". Coo, fancy.
The new service will be based around three sections: stuff from the past in On Demand, stuff that's on now in Now, and stuff that hasn't been yet in On Soon.
The new On Demand section will continue 4OD's current set-up featuring catch-up episodes of the shows that are currently on and episodes of those classic past shows from the vaults. But the episodes will now be integrated with related information such as cast interviews and galleries.
In the Now section you will be able to watch live broadcasts from all Channel 4's channels, and get involved with other related fun stuff like news clips, short videos and social media shenanigans.
Finally, On Soon will preview clips and promos for forthcoming shows, with the option to set reminders and alerts for the ones you like the look of. It's also the place for episodes premiering before they're shown on TV.
Other catch-up and on-demand services for UK television broadcasters include ITVPlayer and Demand5. The BBC's iPlayer was revamped earlier this year, such as comedy from TV channel BBC Three, which is to move entirely online at some point this Autumn. Sky's digital services include Sky Go and Now TV, which also caused frustration for Android users with lengthy delays for the Android app.