YouView reportedly set for 2500-home pre-Olympics trial
Soft launch to justify deadline met claims?
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. ®
Why do people (read: press) continue to ignore the main driver for these platforms?
This isn't about ANOTHER replay tv platform, it's about being able to choose which tv stations you want, and how you want to watch them.
I am one amongst many who bemoan being forced to buy a package of channels I don't want in order to watch a couple that I do. Imagine being able to just choose those channels, without the overhead of say, the satellite, or the cable provider... I have bandwidth, i'll use it how I want.
You guys & gals at the Register really need to catch up with what's really going off in UK IPTV.
TVCatchup.com, the legal service that has been providing IPTV for years to the UK represents a big chunk of IPTV viewing in this country, check out if any ISP's will give you details, but TVC during large sporting events account for a significant % of the total IP traffic moving around the UK.
TVC already provides more channels than Freeview, offers (experimentally at the moment) HD channels and will be providing all the BBC Olympic feeds from their platform.
Just because the BBC, ITV et al don't like to talk about TVC doesn't mean it isn't actually the incumbent and serious player in the IPTV stakes in the UK.
Is this thing ever going to launch? I am in my twenties yet I am fully expecting to be long dead by the time it comes out! I honestly think it would be quicker for Paris to evolve into a race of super humans!
Subscription IPTV hasn't exactly taken off in the UK so far.
If there's a standard target platform in YouView and each broadcaster can run their own packages, rather than being limited to whatever channels BT Vision or TalkTalk.TV choose to bundle, then it could take off, especially if most new TVs have YouView bundled and so do many new FreeView/FreeSat boxes (especially all the PVR ones)
I can get Eurosport player for £2.99 a month to watch the cycling (niche market, yeah, but there's lots of niche markets around the world; this is the Long Tail in TV).
I can run that from a computer to my TV, but that's still a hassle compared to getting it to run inside a YouView box, or even a YouView app running in a media centre like XBMC that has a proper 10-foot interface and works with a remote.
It also will completely unbundle Sky and Virgin. If you can get any channel on YouView direct from the broadcaster, rather than buying a package from Sky / Virgin, then why not do just that?
Sure, the Sky channels are still bundled with each other, but it opens up a route to market for all the other channels. If I'm a minority sport where there's TV already being made (i.e. popular somewhere outside the UK), then all I need to do is take an existing English-language feed from another broadcaster and drop it to YouView - the subscriptions are pure profit. Even if there isn't an English broadcast, paying two commentators and a producer won't cost that much to slap a commentary onto existing pictures.
Re: Catch up tv is only 9.2%..
It couldn't be easier to connect a computer to a TV. My Acer Revo is connected with an HDMI lead and has a wireless keyboard and mouse and gives me unfettered access to all the catchup online services and other providers without being straight-jacketed by what the TV makers want to restrict me too. Youview is unnecessary.