Channel 4 has become the first UK broadcaster to create an online archive of its shows that web users can watch for free.

Every episode of shows including Father Ted, Drop the Dead Donky and BrassEye will be made available for streaming on Channel 4's catch up service 4oD from July. The broadcaster said in total it will offer around 10,000 programmes, amounting to around 4,000 hours of TV, on the service.

4oD currently only offers programmes for up to 30 days after they have been broadcast. US shows such as Friends will not be made available in the archive along with Channel 4 News, which is unavailable as it contains purchased video clips covered by a rights agreement that only allows them to be broadcast until midnight on the day of transmission.

Channel 4's biggest rival, the BBC's iPlayer only offers shows for download or streaming for between seven and 30 days after broadcast.

"We were the first broadcaster to launch a comprehensive video-on-demand service in 2006, and since that time 4oD has become one of the UK's most popular VOD brands. We are extremely proud of the improved service and think the combination of fantastic content that's easy to find and view will prove compelling for all users," said Jon Gisby, the director of future media and technology at Channel 4.