The BBC and ITV has launched a new trial that will allow users to stream television directly to their PC over the Internet.

Using a new technology called "multicasting" the system allows continuous online broadcasting rather than requiring the user to download footage or streaming.

Both television stations say that "multicasting" allows thousands of people to watch simultaneously using just one high-quality signal.

During the trial, which is available to anyone in the UK with a licence fee, computer and broadband connection, the BBC and ITV will feed channels to eight ISPs including JANET, C & W (but not Bulldog), clara.net, NetServices Plc, PlusNet, Zen Internet, KeConnect Internet and InterVivo.

The BBC said 4,000 tech-savvy viewers are being sought to report on how well the multicasts work.

Channels so far include ITV1, 2, 3 and 4 from ITV and BBC News 24, BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, and BBC Four from the BBC. The Corporation has also made its Radio services available through the trial.

For more information visit

bbc.co.uk/multicast/index.shtml