Nine launches Fixplay catch-up TV

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Ninemsn has launched a new online video portal, Fixplay, which is designed to offer hundreds of hours of "catch-up" content from the Nine and Go! television channels, as well as BBC and Warner Bros.

The site, fixplay.com.au, is currently live though many of the links aren't working yet.

In a statement issued Monday, the company said audiences would be able to stream local TV shows like Underbelly: The Golden Mile, RPA and Getaway, as well as back-catalogue shows like McLeod's Daughters and Sea Patrol. In the coming weeks it will add The Block and The Footy Show to its list.

International shows to be made available over the service include Two and a Half Men, The Mentalist, V, The Big Bang Theory, Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries from Warner Bros, as well as Doctor Who, Little Britain, Spooks, Hotel Babylon, Torchwood and The Mighty Boosh from the BBC, and Shameless, Balls of Steel and Father Ted from the UK-based Digital Rights Group.

The site will not use the Adobe Flash online video technology popularised by online video-sharing sites such as YouTube. Instead, it will use Microsoft's rival Silverlight standard.

The news comes as ninemsn rival Yahoo7!, which has access to content from Channel Seven, and Channel TEN's own online portal, have increasingly been ramping up their own online offerings, especially what they dub "catch-up TV", in the wake of the success of other streaming platforms like ABC's iView.

However, not all episodes of all shows are available and some shows may be taken down after a certain period of time. In addition, the quality of much of the content is not suitable for displaying on high-definition televisions, as it streams at a lower resolution.

Some TV shows, such as Channel Seven's Sunrise, are using YouTube to display much of their content, which allows the content to be embedded in other sites. The show is attracting a significant amount of views via the Google-owned video-sharing site.

Most of the broadcasters don't allow users to take their content with them and play it on portable media devices such as the Apple iPhone, though the ABC does with many of its shows and podcasts.

NineMSN said that it launched "Australia's first catch-up TV service" on Wednesday, 17 May 2006, with McLeod's Daughters. Since its inception, the joint venture's catch-up TV service has delivered hundreds of thousands of catch-up TV episodes, the statement said, including Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities, which had experienced almost 300,000 downloads of its second season.