Channel 4 is one of the first broadcasters to wake up to the small broadband revolution that is transforming the way we watch the telly, and is making all of its programmes available for download on the Internet.

It will cost you to download shows that you’ve missed, but not much. Shows aired over the past 30 days will cost 99p to rent, and £1.99 to own. By February, you’ll be able to pay £3.99 for a month’s subscription and access to all shows, and £4.99 to watch all movies aired.

Channel 4’s CEO told The Times that he predicts within 5 years, a third to a half of all viewing would be on-demand and time-shifted, either through download services or devices like Sky+.

The channel has invested millions in the new scheme, and hopes to start introducing ads at some point to help reach the goal of making the operation profitable by the third year of operation.

Some content won’t be available, as few US programmes have agreed to the scheme. Desperate Housewives is one of the few that will be part of the service.

Channel 4 isn’t the only one getting in on the Internet act. The BBC is waiting for Governors to approve a plan to make the last week’s programming available to watch for free online; ITV is lagging behind and may launch an internet download service by next spring.