UK broadcaster Channel 4 is to begin showing its programs on television and online at the same time from tomorrow (Tuesday).

The commercially funded but publicly owned channel will 'simulcast' its programs on TV and on - though the online content will exclude imported shows such as Lost and Desperate Housewives.

Programs will also be available to view on the channel's website for up to seven days after transmission, and will feature the same ads as shown on TV - though online ad space may be sold in the future.

Ceo Andy Duncan describes the development as an opportunity "to build on what Channel 4 has always done - stimulate, infuriate, debate, create."

He adds: "It is our stated aim to make Channel 4's public service programming available across all meaningful platforms and to be the first UK broadcaster to begin simulcasting our content on broadband is a significant step towards delivering on this objective."

The move marks the latest stage in the competition between UK broadcasters to expand their online offering. Publicly funded broadcaster the BBC plans to simulcast some of its output on TV, radio and online, and has made some soccer World Cup matches available on the internet for UK viewers.

The biggest commercial broadcaster ITV is also aiming to make its programmes available to view for thirty days after transmission both online and via cellphone.

Data sourced from BBC Online and Media Week (UK); additional content by WARC staff