Sony says no to YouView
Telly maker not keen on 'Freeview for IPTV' scheme
Sony will not support the UK's would-be IPTV standard, YouView, the company's UK chief has revealed.
Speaking at the Intellect Consumer Electronics Conference in London yesterday, Gildas Pelliet, MD of Sony UK and Ireland, said the company will not plug YouView into the Bravia Internet Video service built into many of the firm's TVs and Blu-ray Disc players.
YouView was to have debuted this summer, but the release date has slipped back to 2012 - it's said because of disagreements between supporters over the platform's technical specifications.
It finally published its Linux-based set-top spec earlier this year.
Last month, Technicolor, now a brand of French set-top box maker Thomson, quit the YouView, leaving the 'Freeview of IPTV' with only six partners who've said they'll make kit equipped with the technology.
Sony's stance is a bigger blow. Sony has been at the forefront of consumer IPTV, building core technology into many of its Bravia TVs and BD players for more than a year now. It was one of the first firms to integrate BBC iPlayer into televisions.
If there's a flaw in Sony's IPTV offering, it's the poor selection of content - justified because BIV is for a "global audience", according to Sony spinners - for every BBC iPlayer or Lovefilm there are plenty more YouTube wannabes, sportswear ads masquerading as content, and obscure German news channels.
YouView might have provided Sony with a way to expand not only the quantity but the quality of IPTV content accessible through the giant's tellies. Clearly Sony doesn't think it will. ®
I just want....
... a fucking telly or STB with a browser in it! The manufacturers are intent on building walled gardens of content and resisting attempts to create unrestricted access to content that is available on your PC. The hobbling of GoogleTV by content providers is a good example.
If you just had a basic browser in your TV/STB you could access iPlayer, YouTube or any other content just as you could from your PC. This seems the obvious evolution to me. Things like IPTV seem doomed to failure in the same way as DAB radio.
YouView want complete control
YouView insist on complete control.
Many people are happy with the existing Freeview/Freesat model. Freeview/Freesat provide the TV services and the underlying data for the programme guide; the TV/STB makers provide the user interface on top of that. The TV/STB makers can compete by offering "better" user interfaces, and they can easily innovate by adding new features to their products. These manufacturers just wanted an IPTV service they could add to existing Freeview/Freesat products.
YouView offers a Sky-style model: all the boxes will be completely identical and will run the YouView UI as their main user interface. There are several manufacturers who make Sky boxes. You probably didn't know that, because the "different" Sky boxes are absolutely identical. Manufacturers can't add a new feature, e.g. USB media browsing, to a Sky box because Sky's UI doesn't support it. There is no TV with integrated Sky, since Sky doesn't have a TV UI. (TVs need things like brightness/contrast controls, and they need to support HDMI inputs and legacy analogue inputs. Sky's UI doesn't have that).
Obviously, the YouView model is great for YouView and the broadcasters. But it completely destroys Sony's ability to innovate. Since all the YouView boxes are identical, people will buy the cheapest Chinese box, not the high-quality Sony box.
Sony says no "for now"
Samsung, LG and the like will throw any old feature in to their sets, and when the biggest TV sellers all have YouView, Sony will follow. Shirley?
Sony is against anything out of its control that it cannot monetize in a proprietary way.
Stuff 'em !
"Sony has been at the forefront of consumer IPTV" - has been, not is.
What is Samsung's stance ?