The project, called the BBC Creative Archive, was outlined by the broadcasting companys director Greg Dyke, but he said the details of the project are still being finalised.
The BBC probably has the best television library in the world, said Mr Dyke. Up until now, this huge resource has remained locked up, inaccessible to the public...
But the digital revolution and broadband are changing all that. For the first time, there is an easy and affordable way of making this treasure trove of BBC content available to all.
Speaking at the Mediaguardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, Mr Dyke said downloading such information could be great for children doing homework on everything from dinosaurs to history.
While most of the content will be made available at no cost, BBCs top entertainment shows will come at a cost because sales of such programmes on DVD and video CDs are a source of BBCs income, said Mr Dyke, adding that clips of such shows, however, will be free of charge.
A final date for the opening of the BBC archives to the public is yet to be decided.