What is YouView?
Wikipedia has an entry on YouView of course, so you can read all about it there, but the long and short of it is:
There was something called Project Kangaroo, which proposed video-on-demand platform offering content from BBC Worldwide, ITV.com and Channel 4′s 4oD that failed on competition grounds. From this Project Canvas was created (whilst Kangaroo turned into SeeSaw) with the same idea of offering on-demand services, internet content, TV and radio (Freeview) all from a set-top box. This venture is a partnership between four broadcasters (BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5 and ITV) and three communications companies (Arqiva, BT and TalkTalk) and was renamed YouView.
YouView has been Launched!
It was ‘soft’ launched on 4th July 2012, with Humax YouView boxes being shipped out to 2000 trialists or so across the country. Today, 26th July, the Humax YouView boxes are available to buy directly from Humax and from other retailers – just a day before the opening ceremony of the London Olympics!
Is YouView for You?
Is the question of this blog post in which I will attempt to answer, and to do so I will have to nail what this YouView box essentially is. So what is it?
It is essentially a box that allows you to watch the contents offered by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five. You can do this already using various devices that can connect to the internet and access iPlayer, ITVplayer, 4OD and Demand5. However, YouView integrates this with live broadcasts viewing and recording from Freeview. No STB on the market at the moment currently offers you this facility. If you had a computer with a Freeview tuner (with recording facility) and internet access to the OD services, then you could say this is what YouView offers.
The question ‘Is the YouView content worth an extra £50′ has been asked in the forums (here), and this question supposes that the YouView box is just a Humax HDR FOX T2 with the added OD content access. My answer to this question is ‘yes’ if the PVR facilities of this YouView box is the same as the FOX T2. But of course, the YouView box’s Freeview recording facilities and features are not going to be anywhere as rich as they are on the FOX T2 – a quick read of the DTR-T1000 FAQ’s will reveal this!
So who is YouView for?
I would say it would be perfect for people who (1) do not have a Freeview recorder, and (2) have no means of accessing OD content otherwise (e.g. via a computer or a smart TV) and would like to record their TV programmes and catch-up on those they’ve missed, and (3) for those (parents and grandparents) who are less technically capable of doing this by other means.
If you currently watch a lot of OD content, say from iPlayer, or from the other major broadcasters, and would like to be able to do this in the lounge on your big TV screen and Series Record your regular soaps and other programmes on Freeview, and don’t want to mess about with computer set-ups, then this is the box for you. It is also a box to purchase for your elderly relatives – you just set it up once, show then how to use it and it should be ‘support’ free.
I am sure the box and service won’t be perfect at launch but hopefully, because Humax are involved, then bugs will get fixed and new services will be added and improved.
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