/ Technology

Is your smart TV missing key catch-up and on-demand apps?

You’d be shocked if you turned on the TV to find that some major broadcast channels weren’t available on your brand of television. But when it comes to smart TV apps, such as ITV Hub and All 4, that’s exactly what’s happening.

Update 11/03/2019

Pricey TVs losing access to BBC iPlayer is a problem that won’t go away. Our members, as well as people here on Which? Conversation, have told us that the app can go missing for months.

What to do if your Samsung TV has lost BBC iPlayer

The problem isn’t limited to Samsung TVs, but the majority of people notifying us of the issues had a Samsung set.

We believe both Samsung and the BBC need to be more up front about compatbility issues – users should be alerted to the problem, and a relastic timeline of when it can be fixed should be given.

Have you lost access to BBC iPlayer on your TV? Let us know in the comments.

Original convo 19/04/2017

I expect a lot from my smart TV. I want to be able to watch the live cricket, flick over to Mad Men or Happy Valley in the Netflix app, and then perhaps head to All 4 (the Channel 4 catch-up app) to watch the episodes of Catastrophe that I’ve missed, all without ever leaving my sofa.

And most people want much the same. In a recent survey of more than 4,000 members, two thirds of smart TV owners said the availability of catch-up and on-demand apps was important when buying their TV.

So it’s no surprise that customers are left dumb-founded when these are missing from their brand-new smart TV.

The murky world of missing apps

Despite Samsung becoming the first manufacturer to offer the full complement of BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 catch-up apps in 2013, its 2015 and 2016 smart TVs were all missing these for several months when they were first available to buy.

At the time of writing, All 4 still hadn’t been released on its 2016 smart TVs – more than nine months after they were released.

Samsung said:

‘The Samsung Smart TV platform is used by content providers to make their apps available to consumers, and many factors can affect the speed in which this happens. Samsung is committed to working with content providers to make apps available as quickly as possible, whilst providing the best offering and experience.’

But waiting weeks or even months for the apps to appear isn’t the only issue – some will never be available on certain brands of TV. For example, LG, Panasonic and Sony smart TVs bought between 2011 and 2014 won’t ever have the ITV Hub nor All 4 apps.

And with TV manufacturers and retailers warning that the availability of third-party apps is subject to change, you could even discover that some become defunct a few years down the line.

A solution?

So what are smart TV manufacturers doing to ensure these key apps are available on their new models?

Well, most Panasonic and LG smart TVs now incorporate Freeview Play in their smart TV platforms. This handy system integrates catch-up TV into the electronic programme guide, allowing LG and Panasonic to offer all the key services.

Smaller brands Hisense, JVC and Toshiba all recently announced they will be also integrating Freeview Play into some of their TVs, while Sony has incorporated YouView, a similar system offering the main catch-up apps, in its smart TVs since 2015.

Not only do Freeview Play and YouView allow TV brands to offer BBC iPlayer, the ITV Hub, All 4 and My 5, the apps are on the TVs as soon as they become available, so you won’t be waiting weeks or months for them to appear.

This means that Samsung – which has yet to make any clear commitment to include either Freeview Play or YouView in its smart TVs – has gone from being the only major brand able to offer all the main catch-up apps to being the only one not able to offer them from when the TVs first become available to buy.

As Freeview Play and YouView are relatively young, we’re yet to see whether these systems will lose support for catch-up TV services.

But Freeview did tell us that it had considered this when designing the system:

‘While we cannot absolutely guarantee that all our content partner’s apps and services will be present for the life of the device, we have taken steps to ensure that Freeview Play offers the greatest possible chance of achieving this by mandating the very latest connected TV technology and enforcing common standards.’

But, to me, the fact that most apps are now available on your brand-new TV from the start is definitely an improvement.

Is your smart TV missing key catch-up and on-demand apps? Or was it when you first bought it?

Sandra Hind says:
13 April 2020

We have 3 Smart TV’s – Samsung and Panasonic – We have followed every instruction with regards to our Smart TV’s missing key catch-up and on-demand apps + how to install a new App (including dplay). We have spent a lot of our precious time doing this and still have no answers, During this sad time of coronavirus we are in the age group that is over 70. We cannot take our TV back as the TV shops are closed. We must all stay at home at this time. Our individual TV choice of programmes will help massively. Please TV technology teams press the right buttons to give us all in Great Britain automatic updates on our Smart TV’s. I look forward to a response from you!!!!

Pamela says:
22 May 2020

I have a 24 inch Samsung smart tv and forgotten the password and have tried several times to sort it out but whatever I do even what the tv tells me I still can’t get anyone to tell me how to.thank you

Hi Pamela – This. is what I found on the Samsung website:

[TV] How to reset the password?
Last Update Date : May 17. 2018
To solve the issue, please follow the steps below.

1. Switch off the TV using the remote control.
2. Press Mute>8>2>4>Power (from the remote control).

(The buttons needs to be pressed not simultaneously but one after another)

This will reset the TV password to its default password which is 4 zeroes (0000).


Linda Burton says:
1 June 2020

I have lost the app for stv player on the on demand screen on panasonic smart tv how do I recover it

Lynn says:
7 June 2020

How do we watch catch up TV on our Panasonic smart tv

John says:
15 June 2020

I’ve had al the apps since I purchased the tv but lately they have all stopped working

Helen says:
23 June 2020

My friend has and LG49If630v 49Inch smart tv she cannot get the STV player app.. this means if she misses Emmerdale she cannot watch it on Catch Up.
Can anyone help me please. Thank you

brendan says:
23 June 2020

just purchased a lg smart tv and cannot find any catch up apps on it . when you look at lg app store on my lap top they are there , but not when you use the tv search !!. it does however have britbox which you have to pay for !!!. will be taking it back to costco if cannot sort . anyone have any help.

Claire Cady-Jones says:
26 June 2020

I have a logik TV and I lost ITV Hub and Freeview 2 days ago and Britbox appeared

cheryl eales says:
29 June 2020

just got new 2020 lg tv,£1299/00 no catch up tv ,really disappointed

Caitlin S says:
7 July 2020

All of the catch up apps on my smart tv have Disappeared
But there is only 5 catch up apps have not disappeared