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How to watch free digital TV online

To watch free TV shows online all you need is an internet-connected device and speedy broadband. You can watch free TV shows on BBC iPlayer, 40D and Five On Demand. Sky customers get access to Sky Go, while TalkTalk Plus TV customers can enjoy thousands of hours of content on the TalkTalk Player app.

By on May 15, 2013 at 11:09 AM
Digital TV
How to watch free digital TV online

Watching TV online is a great way to break the boredom of long commutes, housework or ironing sessions. Just prop your tablet, smartphone or laptop up, connect to your chosen internet TV website, and away you go! But how can you get free online TV services? There are more available than you think.

Are you looking for Sky deals with the Sky Go app or TalkTalk deals with TalkTalk Player?

There are several ways to watch free TV online. Major broadcasters like the BBC give users access to videos and programmes free of charge. However if you want to stream live BBC programmes online, you still need to have a TV licence. You can find out more about registering for a TV licence here. 

Get a broadband deal with the speeds you need for online TV

To watch your favourite digital TV shows online you'll need a broadband package that offers speeds of at least 12Mbps. Otherwise your connection may struggle to keep up.

Free online TV shows from BBC iPlayer

The BBC iPlayer was launched in 2007 to provide a catch-up and on-demand television service to viewers online. It is basically a website that features a streaming video capability for BBC TV shows across all BBC channels from the last 7 days. You can select to view a programme from a list of titles or by the day that they originally aired on telly. There is also an option to download a programme to your PC and keep it for 30 days to watch as many times as you like within that time period. 

Be aware of your broadband speeds before streaming TV online
If you only have basic broadband connection speeds of around 2Mbps you may be able to stream digital TV online, but the service will stop and start. This means that you will see the annoying buffering sign more often than someone with a faster broadband connection. Anything above 8Mbps is good - especially for viewing digital TV online in high definition via the BBC iPlayer. The BBC iPlayer offers a broadband speed test tool which advises you on the correct broadband speed you need to watch the chosen BBC iPlayer programme.

Sky GO online TV services (free for existing Sky customers)

Sky GO is a free online digital TV service that's included with selected Sky broadband packages. You need a PC or laptop with a good broadband connection and reasonable download speeds o enjoy Sky Go.

There are 42 of the top television channels to choose from including Sky Sports and the Disney Channel. TV show fans are in for a treat too as there is an entire library of content from Sky available on-demand to watch whenever you want. 

Our recommended deal with Sky Go online digital TV:


TalkTalk Player online TV services

TalkTalk Player is a feature which is available exclusively to TalkTalk broadband and TV customers for free. It is an app which is very similar to BBC iPlayer. You can view it on your laptop or through the Youview box which comes included in TalkTalk's triple play bundle. This feature gives you access to the UK's most popular box sets and channels like ABC On Demand as well as Sony Entertainment.

Our recommended TallkTalk Plus TV deal:


Other popular ways to watch digital TV online and on demand:

  • 4oD or 4 on Demand, is the on-demand digital TV service from broadcaster Channel 4.
  • The ITV Player is an on-demand digital TV service from ITV.
  • Demand Five from broadcaster Five is another on-demand digital TV service that offers downloads of its most popular shows including CSI, House and Grey's Anatomy.