Television recording site TVCatchup has confirmed it has suspended its service following complaints from broadcasters.

Users could record British shows through the website which they and others could then watch online.

The service launched in December and disappeared last week. Over the weekend the website was replaced with a message to users.

"In recent days, TVCatchup has become aware of the Broadcasters' (BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five) increasing concerns over the free personal recording functionality that this website offers," it said.

"On 15th February, our hosting was terminated without warning and we presume this was at the request of such Broadcasters.

"Given that this will no doubt happen again, TVCatchup has therefore voluntarily suspended its services whilst the concerns of the Broadcasters are addressed."

TVCatchup's host has declined to confirm whether it shut the website because of approaches from broadcasters.

However, a spokeswoman for the BBC said: "We are concerned about the unauthorised commercial exploitation of our rights, and those of our contributors, by TVCatchup.

"The BBC together with the other UK terrestrial broadcasters, ITV, Channel 4 and Five are currently jointly in correspondence with TV Catchup, and we have no further comment to make at this stage."

Adam Smith, who created the website, has previously argued it is legal and effectively a remote personal video recorder.

The service and its legal position sparked debate on the Digital Spy forums when it was launched and it has continued on the recent developments.

DVB Cornwall came down with the broadcasters: "Hosting and enabling distribution of copyright material without the permission of the copyright owner seems somewhat illegal to me."

London-based poster Diary_room added: "TVCatchup claimed it was legal by quoting a part of the law about 'domestic and private' recording but several people including myself pointed out that a) The recording (turning the transmitted signal into stored data) takes place at TVCatchup, not on domestic premises so is not covered by the law b) At the start they allowed multiple users to view recordings..."

Asa was unsurprised the service had run into problems: "Surely these 'concerns' should have been addressed before they poured so much effort into it and the thing went public? Maybe they knew all along the thing wasn't viable long term."

Others were more sympathetic to TVCatchup, however.

"I have only ever used it once when I was unable to find an episode of The Bill," said forum member Bornfree. "My PVR went up the wall and did not record anything on that particular day.

"Good old ITV do not show repeats on ITV3 anymore. What stupid logic when The Bill is one of the most popular cop shows in England. If both BBC and ITV took had a decent catch-up service, people wouldn't feel the need to use illegal sites."

Snc added: "Note how there hasn't been a word from the broadcasters... TVCatchup service has put the iPlayer, 4OD, the rubbish to shame, no wonder they are keeping quiet."