(Pocket-lint) - Channel 4 is making the biggest changes to its on demand offering since launching 4oD almost nine years ago. For a start, the name is being ditched in favour of "All 4" - representing the fact that it will contain catch-up, on demand and live streams for all of the broadcaster's channels. And it can even be seen as an additional station in its own right as exclusive short content will be carried on the new platform.
It launches with an extensive list of new features on Monday 30 March for PC, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, with an Android version to follow later this year. All current 4oD applications and services will also be rebranded with All 4's design and logo, but will still offer the same on demand offering as the current 4oD service.
Those with iOS devices, PCs or laptops will gain access to a large swathe of significant changes, not least live telly.
Pocket-lint was invited to Channel 4's London HQ to try out the new app for iPad (and get a glimpse at the browser portal for computers) ahead of the official release and we can safely say that it is a marked step forward for Channel 4 - something that puts it on a par, if not ahead of BBC iPlayer in the amount of features offered.
The main hub is now split into three distinct sections. On Demand is much like the current 4oD service, giving access to catch-up TV shows that have been on recently and entire back catalogue "box sets". You can also watch online exclusive shorts from this section.
In the centre is the Now menu, which is limited to live TV on tablets and smartphones. You can watch any of the current broadcasts from all of the broadcaster's channels from here, even streamed over 3G or 4G.
This section comes to life even more when viewed on a computer as it offers additional features and related content. News clips will appear under Now, for example. And there will be interactive elements on the browser version in future.
The final section immediately available to you on the home screen is "On Soon". This is where future content will be flagged, whether it is coming up on TV or straight to the platform. Additional content will be available here, including trailers and access to previous series of shows that are listed as coming in the future. The PC version also gets an extra "Remind Me" feature where, once signed in, you can have the software notify you through PC, tablet or phone when a show you're looking forward to is due to start.
A lot of the original features of 4oD also remain, including the ability to download a lot of the content for offline viewing (licences permitted) and the picture quality will remain SD for now. Pocket-lint was told that there are other things to be done to improve the service ahead of HD streaming in the priority list.
Seeing as a large majority of users will watch All 4 streaming on devices with screen sizes of 15-inches and below, HD isn't so essential as ensuring that the experience is great. And from what we've played with so far, Channel 4 is certainly on the right track.