All 4 homepage up until February 2019
|Original author(s)||Channel Four Television Corporation|
|Developer(s)||Channel Four Television Corporation|
|Initial release||16 November 2006|
30 March 2015
All 4 is a video on demand service from the Channel Four Television Corporation. The service launched on 16 November 2006 as 4oD (shorthand for 4 on Demand). The service offers a variety of programmes recently shown on Channel 4, E4, More4, Film4 and 4Music and shorts. However some programmes and movies are not available due to rights issues, and the service is incapable of streaming in resolutions greater than 576p.
The cable and IPTV versions are operated through an appropriate set-top box whilst the internet variant can be accessed via their website. All 4 generated around 215 million long-form video views on all platforms where it is available in the first half of 2011, making Channel 4 the biggest commercial UK broadcaster in the video on-demand market during the period.
On 30 March 2015, 4oD was merged into and renamed All 4.
On 1 March 2019 All 4 was rebranded with a new logo, website design and app design. The rebrand included a trial for registered users to pay, and get adverts removed from their shows on laptops and PC's called All 4+. If the trial is deemed successful it may become a permanent feature in future.
All 4 is the main source of on demand programmes from Channel 4, E4, and More4. The catch up service currently lasts 30 days, and the archive has thousands of hours of programming.
The "catch-up" service offers content free of charge for 30 days after a programme's broadcast on Channel 4. As of 2011, not all content is available to Irish users, due to licensing restrictions; however, the majority of the programming is available. Live streaming of Channel 4 and its sister channels is not available outside the UK.
Channel 4 relaunched 4oD on 31 August 2011. At the heart of the changes is 'My 4oD', allowing registered users to build playlists, schedule shows, maintain a record of what they have watched, save their favourites in a single place, and receive in-page reminders from Channel 4 whenever a new episode is available for them to watch. Other features include better full-page viewing and optimised site navigation during viewing.
Since 2014, the service stops users with ad blocking software from watching videos on All 4.
Blinkbox previously acquired licenses for a number of programmes to be access on its website, although All 4 itself is not available. Some TV series are available for free, such as Balls of Steel, Embarrassing Bodies, Shameless UK, and Skins, while others, for example ER , Shameless US, and The Big Bang Theory, have to be bought.
Netflix has bought the rights to a number of Channel 4 shows, such as Father Ted, IT Crowd, and The Inbetweeners, and are shown without adverts. The majority of these shows are set to be removed from Netflix on 15 February 2014.
4oD launched on YouTube in the UK in late 2009, with seven genre-dedicated channels for 4oD additional to separate channels Channel 4 and E4. However, it was announced on 7 January 2014 that Channel 4 had removed all its long-form programming from YouTube in order to focus on the 4oD platform itself, although programming from 4Shorts and Mashed would remain available.
All 4 became available as part of Freesat's second generation Free Time guide on 27 June 2013, offering the last seven days of programming integrated to the TV guide and access to the All 4 archive via the on demand section. As of 22 February 2018 All 4 will no longer be available on Freesat services.
All 4 is available on Virgin Media's cable television service. This platform offers programmes for 7 days after broadcast and Virgin has exclusive use of most of Channel 4 archive which is free on XL package. In 2007, Virgin Media announced plans to offer high definition programming through All 4 but as of 2012 no further information has been released.
All 4 was one of four services available at the launch of YouView in July 2012. At launch, the All 4 app contained options to resume watching recent programmes and browse by most popular, categories, collections, and A-to-Z, but lacked a search function and contained non-skippable adverts. It is also available for BT TV and TalkTalk Plus TV customers, as these services run on YouView.
All 4 was released on 14 December 2010 on PlayStation 3 via the PlayStation Network. This service was accessible through ps3.channel4.com, but has now been replaced with a native app. The app version of All 4 for PlayStation 3 was released on 20 June 2013, allowing access to the full All 4 library. All 4 on PS3 is free and ad-funded with pre-, mid- and post-roll video ads being sold and served by Channel 4.
The All 4 app was launched on PlayStation 4 on 23 December 2015.
On 5 October 2011, it was announced that All 4 would be made available to all Xbox Live Gold members. The service also integrates with the Xbox 360's Kinect controller. All 4 was added to the Xbox Live on 21 December 2011. All content on Xbox Live contains ads which cannot be skipped.
An All 4 app for the Android operating system was released on 5 February 2013. However the app is missing the previously promised feature to watch TV live channels, in addition it's limited to Wi-Fi connections and doesn't support rooted devices. An updated version was released on 25 July 2013 providing download and watch offline support. Users are frustrated that the adverts stream properly but that the programme content shows as a black screen with audio only. All4's technical support's explanation that this is to do with limited bandwidth seems unlikely to users who have no problems with other services such as Netflix.
An All 4 iPad app launched on 3 May 2011, the app offers a 30-day catch-up service. The current requirements to run this app is a compatible with iPad with iOS 3.2 or later. The design of the app was elegant and intuitive but received negative reviews around technical issues and its use of commercial breaks.
An All 4 app for the iPhone and iPod Touch allowing a 30-day catch-up was released on 2 September 2011, along with an update to the iPad app. Both apps now feature enhanced search functionality to enable users to more easily navigate the catch-up and archive content. They can both be browsed in 3G, but video playback is still only available with a Wi-Fi signal to "ensure the quality of the viewing experience isn't affected". The apps also feature a link to Channel 4's content on iTunes, offering the chance to purchase shows.
An updated version was released on 25 July 2013 providing download and watch offline support.
The service was originally available as a Windows-only desktop program for downloading shows similar to BBC iPlayer Desktop. Following the launch of the web version of 4oD in April 2009, the desktop client continued to allow content from outside the catch-up window to be downloaded. The Kontiki based program which offered Windows Media Video downloads was closed in July 2009.
The desktop client offered programming from other broadcasters such as FX and National Geographic as well as movies from 20th Century Fox. A Download To Own (DTO) or "Buy" feature was also available on selected content, allowing users to purchase a programme and keep it for as long as they wish.
On 17 December 2012, Channel 4 and Microsoft released a dedicated All 4 application for Windows 8. The move saw Channel 4 become the first major UK broadcaster to support the operating system with a native app.