Wednesday, 4 July 2012

A big “phew” from the people behind YouView

YouView is finally set to launch. Chairman Alan Sugar and Managing Director Richard Halton showcased the new television service backed by territorial broadcasters (BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5 and ITV) and three communications companies (Arqiva, BT and TalkTalk) to the press for the first time this morning. While trials continue, YouView has committed to the first STB’s being available to buy at the end of the month, around two years later than originally planned.

YouView is some four years in the making having been known initially as project canvas in 2008, with a view to launch in 2010. It will allow viewers to access 100 digital TV and radio channels as well as a selection of on-demand content from BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD and Demand 5. Today’s launch focussed on its EPG that enables users to scroll backwards in time as well as forwards, so they can catch up on shows they may have missed in the last seven days. You can see some glimpses of the EPG here.  Subscription packages are yet to be announced and may hold the key to whether the service is able to offer anything that isn’t already available in the market today. Subscription free STBs will cost £299, meaning it’s very much a premium product. 

After some technical delays, the product is now ready to go to market. Crucially, it will miss the anticipated pre-Olympics surge in TV device sales. But it’s thought the new TV service will also provide film studios and TV production companies with the ability to set up their own channels, an interesting development for the UK market.

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