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More on 4....

  • By Paul Crichton
  • 4 Jan 07, 02:31 PM

I was watching BBC’s comedy The Thick of It last night. In it, a shadow minister was moaning that with all the changes going on in his party, he felt like the village idiot, as if he were unable to set the video or to brush his teeth properly. “You’ve still got a video?” asked his aide incredulously.

We noted the launch of Channel 4’s Video on Demand service, 4oD last month, which further sounds the death knell for such archaic bits of hardware. Now we’ve had the chance to look at it in more detail.

4oD offers you the chance to download much of Channel 4’s content. Some things aren’t available – like The Simpsons – but most home-grown content like Spaced and Starkey’s Monarchy is, as well as some decent movies, like the classic Withnail & I. Some content is free, and some of it you can rent or buy.

4oD is still in its beta testing stage, but to get to the programmes, you need to download their software. You then pick from the content available, register, pay for it if required and download the programme.

In terms of accessibility, I had some trouble getting round the interface using my screen reader. I didn’t always get links that made sense. Finding specific programmes also presented problems, but there is a search function that seemed to work OK. Using the keyboard for navigation also had issues, for example I kept getting stuck at the 4oD logo, and couldn’t tab past it.

As for the programmes, I’ve only had the chance to take a look at a couple. They are played on Microsoft’s Media Player. Neither of the programmes I looked at had closed captioning, and I couldn’t see anything provided with audio description.

I have to say, that I really hope they can make some improvements on the accessibility front and with 4oD still in beta testing, they may be working on this already.

I downloaded and watched the first episode of Spaced which I’ve never seen before. I’m looking forward to watching Drop the Dead Donkey for the first time in ages. It really made my day to find these programmes, so shouldn’t everyone get to have their day made as well?

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 11:12 AM on 12 Jan 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

Doesn't work on Macs either...

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