Channel 4 to simulcast free online

Channel 4 has unveiled plans to launch a broadband simulcast of its commissioned output.

The channel will be available to users registered at ch*nnel4.c*m/livetv - for free - from June 27.

Only commissioned programmes will be available at launch, although the broadcaster is in talks to include acquired shows and films in future. A loop of C4 promos will air whenever programming cannot be broadcast online.

The web stream will initially feature the same commercials as the broadcast version, but future plans will see the introduction of tailored advertising spots.

Announcing the initiative, C4 chief exec Andy Duncan said that the service was a "significant step" towards making C4's public service programming available as widely as possible.

He added: "By embracing the challenges presented by new media technologies we aim to ensure Channel 4 remains as relevant in the future as it is today."

The move gives C4 a jump on the BBC, who previously announced plans to simulcast BBC Two online before the end of 2006.