4onDemand (4oD) allows viewers to stream or, in some cases, download direct to their PC more than 1,000 current and archive television programmes and films.

Having downloaded the 4oD software, register your details to access content appropriate for you. You should now be able to access any content you wish and contribute to Channel 4 blogs and forums.

There are a number of viewing choices on 4oD. You can stream episodes of shows broadcast in the past 30 days for free. During our trial, these included 'Desperate Housewives' and 'Dirty Sexy Money', as well as select archive programmes such as 'Peep Show'.

Some shows broadcast on Channel 4 in the past 30 days are also available to download for free. We downloaded episodes of 'Big Brother' and 'The Sunday Night Project'. Such downloads will stay in our 4oD library for seven days but expire 48 hours after you first press Play.

Other archive Channel 4 shows are available for download from 4oD for 99p, paid by debit or credit card. The same time limits apply, however.

4oD offers a huge choice of current movies such as 'Brick Lane' and classics such as 'Strictly Ballroom'. These are available only as downloads and cost from £1.99. You can store them in your library for one month, but the 48-hour expiry period still applies.

We like the function that allows you to request a PIN be entered before the 4oD player can be used - thus preventing children watching unsuitable shows.

However, the Windows-only viewing experience is a letdown, with quality similar to that of ITV Catch Up. Programmes appear pixellated in full-screen mode.

It's possible to view 4oD content on a TV by connecting it to your PC or investing in Virgin Media, BT Vision or Tiscali TV.

See also:

BBC iPlayer review

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OUR VERDICT

A plethora of great content to stream and download, and 4oD's easy to use. But you have to pay for some shows, and we weren't convinced by the ITV Catch Up-like image quality.

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