What's on the box - catch up TV


Close lesson
You have completed 0%

What's on the box? - Catch-up TV

A woman using her tablet to watch TV

What's coming up

This activity follows Daren and Tamara as they struggle over the remote and what to watch on TV. But, all is not lost as there is a solution that can help them. In this activity, you will learn with Daren and Tamara about what catch-up TV is and how it works.

Start activity

You're in charge

It's all too easy to miss something on TV, whether it's because you were out of the house, because someone you live with was watching a different program, or maybe just because you forgot it was on. How often do you end up missing programs that you wanted to watch?

A remote is poised and pointed at the TV
A hand wrestling match takes place over the remote control

The same old story

It's 7 o'clock and there's trouble in the living-room.

Darren and Tamara are having trouble agreeing on what to watch. Darren wants to watch the game, but Tamara is keen to see the latest episode of her favourite soap.

This sort of thing happens all the time. They only realise that a program is on just as it's about to start, and they can't be bothered to set up their ancient recorder to try and tape it.

An old video tape is about to be inserted into a video recorder
Two people with their backs to each other, fighting

This means one of them ends up disappointed. They're fed up of fighting over the remote control and missing their favourite shows – there must be a better way.

Catch-up TV

Luckily for Darren and Tamara, there are plenty of online services that will let them catch up with any TV programs they've missed.

There are online catch-up services for most TV channels, including ABC iview, SBS on Demand and Freeview.

You can use these services to watch programs which have been broadcast recently.

Computer screen showing ABC iview homepage
ABC iview website showing various episodes of Gardening Australia

Programs are only available on catch-up services for a set amount of time.

However, some of them have banks of older programs which are still available to watch.

Many catch-up services have mobile apps which let you watch and listen using a smartphone or tablet.

There are also some services provided directly through TV boxes (e.g. Telstra or Optus), so you can catch up with programs on your TV without having to use a computer or mobile device.

A tablet and a mobile phone showing ABC iview
Shows a surreal illustration of a house filled with multiple different devices and screens

The best of both worlds

The next evening, things are much calmer at Darren and Tamara's house.

Since Darren and Tamara discovered catch-up TV, they've worked out a way of being able to watch everything they want.

Now one of them can watch their program on TV while the other one catches up online later.

Headphones sit on an open laptop ready to watch some catch-up TV
A remote is pointed toward the TV

There's no more disappointment, and, if one of their friends recommends a program from last night, they can still watch it on a catch-up service.

Spoilt for choice

After the success of catch-up TV, Tamara has been doing some research online and thinks she's found another great way for the family to watch television and films.

Tamara has found out that sites like Netflix, Stan, and Foxtel Now let you watch a huge selection of films and television series online whenever you want.

These services are paid for, known as subscription, but Tamara can try it out using a free trial for new users.

Computer screen showing various streaming services
Movie night is about to begin with a bowl of popcorn ready in front of the TV.

Tamara and Darren think it's fantastic – they've found lots more films and television programs that they both enjoy.

They've even decided that Sunday evening is 'movie night', so they can sit down and watch something together every week.

David loves it too, since the subscription site has lots of his favourite comedy shows that he can watch over and over again in his room.

It's just like having all of the box sets on his computer.

David lies on his bed watching shows on his laptop
A woman looks at a tablet screen which is mirrored in the TV screen in the background


Well done, you've come to the end of the What's on the box? - Catch-up TV activity.

You've learned that if you miss one of your favourite programs, you can catch up online afterwards, for free.

In the next activity, Hitting the right notes - YouTube, you'll learn about how you can use YouTube to listen to music and learn new skills.