may have already seen the full-text of the YouView launch press
release and here are some of the notes I made during
the press briefing event in London this morning:
#1. The YouView box will cost £299
It will be available in the shops (John Lewis, Currys, Amazon
amongst others) by the end of July. The box itself contains a 500GB
personal video recorder (PVR) - enough to record 300 hours of
standard TV or 150 hours of HD, twin tuners (watch one programme
while recording another) and includes content from 100 digital TV
and radio channels as well as seven-day catch-up and other
#2. BT and Talk Talk will also be selling the box
They'll be offering the YouView box as part of their TV,
telephone and broadband bundles. YouView's chairman, Lord
Sugar, said "I won't be surprised if, over time, prices don't come
down. This has a PVR built into it and we may develop a non-PVR
version. Prices for ISP customers will be entirely up to the ISPs
#3. Content from Sky's NOW TV and STV will be on YouView "this
Richard Halton, YouView's CEO, said that another 300 content
partners had expressed interest in supplying more content. Lovefilm
and Netflix content could potentially be integrated if those
companies wanted to do a deal. Indeed, any broadcaster could set up
a channel on YouView for "less than £50,000" according to Lord
Sugar. So, to recap, at launch the product will include live TV,
seven-day catch-up and archive shows from ITV and 4oD.
#4. The EPG and user interface (UI) does look good
Although the initial EPG isn't massively different to a regular
FreeView EPG it looks slick and contains some pretty good
- Everything - search, categories, on-demand content - is mostly
just one or two remote control presses away
- A backwards EPG is included
- When playing on-demand content (e.g. from the BBC iPlayer)
pressing search doesn't take over the whole screen. You can carry
on watching your show whilst hunting for more content.
- On-demand searching searches ALL on-demand services.
- Choosing a show from the on-demand menu takes you straight to a
page where you can either start streaming or choose from previous
episodes where available. This avoids unnecessary messing around
with individual channel players.
#5. There's no companion app or Social TV element for
But these are things that will be considered for developement
said Halton. He went on "We are looking at second screens and
controlling YouView with a companion app but, for now, this is
supposed to be a mainstream product.".
#6. Who's the target market?
Lord Sugar: "Satellite and cable have twelve million customers
and my audience is the other fifteen million. It's the Freeview
audience and the people that don't want to be tied to a
subscription. You only need this one box in your home. It will
replace your FreeView box and all your other HD / PVR
#7. YouView has cost £70m to develop
Both the BBC and Channel 4 have spent £10m each. "That's a cheap
price to pay for this great piece of technology," said Lord Sugar
"and, as public service broadcasters, it's their duty to innovate."
YouView could also potentially appear as a service in and of itself
on connected TV sets.
Overall, my impression of YouView was that it WAS a good
product. I'm just not convinced that people will pay £299 for it
when they can already watch live TV through existing providers and
can easily get access to on-demand content online. That said, the
big advantage of YouView is it gives you TV on your TV.