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UPD YouView UK Subscription Free Broadband TV Service Heads to Retail

Wednesday, Jul 4th, 2012 (10:19 am) - Score 899

The YouView (Project Canvas) IPTV product, a subscription free, broadband internet based, video-on-demand and catch-up TV service that will be bundled by several big ISPs, has today confirmed that it will be available through major retailers by the end of July 2012. TalkTalk has also pledged to reveal its related bundle at a Strategy Day for investors on 26 July.

It had recently been feared that the Joint Venture project (i.e. BBC, ITV, BT, Channel 4, TalkTalk, Arqiva and Channel 5) would not arrive in time for the start of the 2012 London Olympic Games (i.e. 27th July 2012). But in a surprising twist YouView now looks set to make its deadline after all.

The venture’s Chairman, Lord Alan Sugar, and CEO, Richard Halton, made the announcement today while unveiling the YouView set-top-box (STB) and user experience. The box itself is set to cost between £100-£300 (depending upon features) a pop, although it could be cheaper when bundled alongside broadband packages.

YouView Features (PR Spin)

The easy-to-use set top box is set to transform how UK viewers consume TV. You can take advantage of more than 100 digital TV and radio channels [Freeview], seven day catch-up and on demand programmes from the content libraries of the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 – all delivered to the viewer’s main TV.

YouView features an innovative electronic programme guide (EPG) that allows users to scroll back seven days to catch-up on programmes they’ve missed. You can watch in HD and record, pause and rewind live TV. Easy-to-use search lets you find on-demand content by programme or even actor’s name.

The STB will be sold through John Lewis, Currys, Comet, Argos, Amazon, Richer Sounds and the Euronics group stores around the UK with no further TV subscription. Alternatively customers will also be able to buy it as part of a unique IPTV broadband and phone bundle from either BT or TalkTalk, which is expected to come with additional content and services. Sky’s forthcoming internet TV solution – NOW TV – will also make an appearance alongside the likes of the BBC’s iPlayer and similar services.

Lord Sugar, Chairman of YouView, said:

It’s with great pleasure that we announce that YouView will be available from major retailers later this month. Our intention with this simple–to-use box is to provide extraordinary TV for everyone, with on-demand services combined with TV channels with an opportunity to search back an entire week to catch what they’ve missed. It’s a whole new way of experiencing TV.”

Richard Halton, CEO of YouView, added:

Today, YouView is being enjoyed in over 2,000 homes and the feedback from the trial is very encouraging. It confirms that YouView is easy to set up and use and different to what has gone before. In many ways we’ve only just begun, YouView is set to evolve quickly and we look forward to working with new content partners and developing more functionality as boxes roll out into UK homes.”

In related news TalkTalk confirmed today that its own trials are “progressing well and hundreds of TalkTalk homes are already enjoying YouView, this will extend to thousands of homes in the coming weeks.” As stated earlier, TalkTalk intends to announce its own package on 26th July, with CEO Dido Harding saying, “Youview from TalkTalk will give customers an extraordinary TV experience that is accessible and affordable for all.” Hopefully.

Apparently YouView has also received expressions of interest from over 300 potential content partners, although it’s still not known precisely what premium content will be offered by BT and TalkTalk when their related products launch in the coming months. However BT’s proposition is largely expected to mirror that of its existing BTVision service.

The big question is whether or not consumers will be enticed by the new service. Many of its features can already be found built-in or available through modern TV’s and other devices, which could limit its appeal unless the platform can be made more attractive and affordable than current solutions from Sky Broadband or Virgin Media. On top of that those who don’t take one of the ISP bundles risk hitting a wall with their provider over excessive broadband usage or potentially incurring hefty overuse charges.

UPDATE 5th July 2012

Recombu has posted a nice video preview of the first YouView Set-Top-Box that’s worth checking out, although for some reason Humax’s £299.99 box will ship without wifi capability. Now that’s a bit silly.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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