A new catch-up web TV service has been launched on RTÉ.ie.

The RTÉ player gives Irish broadband users the opportunity to watch their favourite RTÉ television programmes for up to 21 days after broadcast.

It was developed with a view to delivering a new and improved service to reflect audience needs and to offer viewers more choice in how they watch programmes.

More than 200 hours of programmes from all categories of the RTÉ broadcast schedule are available to view.

News and sports fans can watch all RTÉ’s news and current affairs output and get free access to RTÉ’s top sports shows including The Sunday Game, Monday Night Soccer and OB Sport.

The player is a beta release - it is the first version released outside the organisation that developed the software, for the purpose of evaluation and testing.

Commenting on the launch, Executive Director of RTÉ Publishing Múirne Laffan said: 'This is an exciting new opportunity for Irish viewers to access their favourite programmes whenever they want.

'RTÉ player will enhance our service to existing and new RTÉ audiences, extending the availability of our programmes and addressing the challenge to consumers' viewing habits beyond traditional appointment to view.

'This is a significant enhancement to the consumer experience offered on RTÉ.ie and we expect a subsequent growth in usage and traffic, which will in turn offer commercial advertisers opportunities to reach audiences in new ways,' she added.

RTÉ.ie has an average of 55m page impressions per month and 2.3m unique users.