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YouView reportedly set for 2500-home pre-Olympics trial

Soft launch to justify deadline met claims?

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YouView, would IPTV world's answer to Freeview, may get a soft launch into 2500 homes before the start of the Olympic Games.

The platform, backed by broadcasters the BBC and ITV, ISPs BT and TalkTalk, and broadcasting infrastructure owner Arqiva, is currently being tested in a hundred locations in London by YouView stakeholder employees.

But this limited run may soon be extended to more that two thousand homes across Britain, the Financial Times reports.

The trial, if it goes ahead, would allow YouView to claim it had launched in time for the summer games, kind of. That would be a handy claim to make for an organisation that has missed many a promised launch window over the past two years or so.

In February this year, TalkTalk told its shareholders it was confident that YouView will go live ahead of the Olympics. By April, however, Alun Sugar, YouView's chairman, was reported to have said that the platform's development wasn't at a sufficiently advanced stage to make hitting that deadline a reality.

YouView puts the likes of BBC iPlayer into a relatively open hardware platform. Back in 2010, when it was first thought that YouView would debut, that was an attractive option. Two years on and there's hardly a new TV or set-top box that ships without support for the BBC's catch-up service.

Yes, YouView boxes should also relay other IPTV offerings too, but surveys show that what Brits most want from internet-connected TV kit is BBC iPlayer, and even the Xbox has that now.

But catch-up TV accounted for just 9.2 per cent of viewing hours in 2011 - not enough, you might think, to support a business built on flogging catch-up boxes to consumers. ®

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