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Project Canvas to launch Web TV next year as ‘YouView’ brand

Project Canvas, the on-demand TV service backed by BBC ITV, BT and Channel 4, has offially rebranded as YouView, and is set to launch as a beta test in the first quarter of next year

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The site aims to bring video-on-demand programming and services to Freeview and Freesat.

From next year viewers will have the choice of a subscription-free YouView set top box that will combine their favourite digital TV channels with the last seven days' catch up TV, as well as bringing a full range of on-demand services and interactive extras straight to the living room.

The seven partners in the venture, BBC, ITV, Channel 4, TalkTalk, BT, Arqiva and Channel 5 – have now formed YouView TV Ltd, pledging about £18m each to cover the first four years of operation from April 2010.

YouView has said it expects to launch sometime before July 2011, despite companies including Virgin Media submitting complaints to Ofcom to try to block the service. It is thought that beta testing of the service is likely to start in the first quarter of 2011.

7 million potential customers

Kip Meek, the YouView chairman, said the incorporation of the company was a "major watershed" for the venture, which in the first instance is targeting the 7m Freeview households that have broadband access.

Richard Halton has been announced as Chief Executive Officer, and takes responsibility for the new company with immediate effect, working alongside Kip Meek, who was appointed Chairman in August.

"YouView is a brilliant new subscription-free TV service which combines the best TV with on demand services and internet content. I am delighted to be leading the team who will make it a reality and think it will change the way we watch TV forever," said Halton.

"We are creating an exciting consumer brand which will stand for a better TV experience for UK homes. Connected TV creates all kinds of creative possibilities, for existing networks as well as local services and new developers of interactive applications. It all adds up to great news for TV audiences. I look forward to working closely with the creative and developer communities to open up exciting possibilities for viewers to discover and enjoy content in new ways."

Kip Meek, said: "YouView is key to ensuring that everyone in the UK benefits from next-generation TV and the UK has a competitive market. Viewers will get more choice whilst broadcasters and content providers both national and local will get a fantastic new means of finding audiences."

How it works

YouView will introduce a programme guide that goes backwards as well as forwards.

This will enable people to easily see what's on now alongside everything they've missed in the last 7 days, including programmes from broadcasters like the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and five, which already have an on demand offering.

Set top boxes will include a Personal Video recorder so viewers can pause live TV or record an entire series at the touch of a button.

Viewers will also be able to simply search for the kind of programmes they like by genre, interest or locality, including films, sports and new content from the internet.

Plans to offer an applications store will also give viewers new types of services and levels of interactivity with their favourite programmes.

YouView set top boxes will be available for a one-off fee, with no contract. They may be offered at special rates as part of new or improved broadband packages. To get the full range of on-demand and interactive services, viewers will need a broadband connection from their chosen internet service provider.

www.youview.com

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