YouView to launch 4th July… but will set top boxes be available?

29/06/2012

YouView is set for launch in the UK next month after much delay, but the web TV service might still be hampered by a lack of availability of set top boxes, according to a news report. YouView chairman Lord Sugar and CEO Richard Halton are to officially launch the IPTV joint venture on July 4. However, according to the Financial Times, set-top boxes will not be widely available until later this year as manufacturers plan to conduct further tests.

Watch the launch video here:

youview.jpg

YouView, the open IPTV platform supported by a consortium of the UK’s public service broadcasters, ISPs and broadcast infrastructure provider Arqiva, is to launch officially on July 4.

A launch event is to be hosted by entrepreneur Lord Sugar, who chairs the YouView board and YouView’s CEO Richard Halton.

In addition to the 70 digital channels available from the Freeview service YouView is offering the last 7 day’s catch up, plus series recording and thousands of programmes on demand. BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD and Demand 5 will all be available.

The project, driven by broadcasters BBC, ITV and Arqiva, together with the ISPs BT and TalkTalk, this week put a cap on the number of participants in the second stage of its trials after an “overwhelming response”.

However, there remains uncertainty as to YouView’s potential take-up, amid many competing connected devices.

An initial trial of some 350 homes was confirmed by YouView’s board late May following an initial test of some 100 employees.

A YouView-compliant set-top box has been included in the Summer 2012 Technology brochure from UK High Street retailer John Lewis. Listed in the catalogue as “Coming Soon”, the Humax-produced device is priced at £299.95 (€371), promising prospective purchasers their “favourite digital TV, video-on-demand and Internet catch-up services from BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD and others,” simply by plugging into their TV and broadband connection.

Humax – named in 2010 as a set-top box supplier alongside Cisco and Technicolor – has confirmed that it will demonstrate its boxes at the event.

The platform’s delayed launch had given rise to much criticism, with suggestions that it had “missed the boat” and had been superseded by other connected TV and OTT services.

Go the official YouView page here

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