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Channel 4 details new 4oD iOS, Android app

Broadcaster Channel 4 has announced plans to upgrade its 4oD video-on-demand mobile application, bringing new functionality - including the ability to watch live TV - to both iOS and Android.

Currently, the 4oD mobile app allows users to search through the previous week's programming on Channel 4, E4 and More 4 and watch selected programmes as well as access a number of classic shows. To view the programmes, users must be connected to the internet - not a problem for those within range of a Wi-Fi connection, but with video taking up significant amounts of data a potentially expensive hobby for those reliant on limited mobile data contracts.

To solve this problem, the broadcaster plans to introduce offline playback to both the iOS and Android versions of the 4oD application. When launched, the new software will allow users on iPads, iPhones, iPod Touches, and Android smartphones or tablets to download their programmes of choice at home on their Wi-Fi connection and then watch them wherever with no mobile data charges.

It's a major move for the company: no commercial broadcaster in the UK offers the same offline feature across all its mobile content. It also comes with a secondary improvement: the ability to watch live TV, rather than selected pre-recorded shows. This, naturally, is not available for offline use - but for those able to spare the data, provides TV-free access to all Channel 4-owned content as it is broadcast. Users will also be able to pause live TV, and resume playing at the same spot later - although Channel 4 has yet to indicate whether this will have a time limit.

The new 4oD application is to launch, free for users and supported by advertising, some time early next year.

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