It was way back in 2010 that YouView was first supposed to launch. Promised to be the subscription-free box that would offer ‘something different’ for TV viewing, it’s been delayed, yet again…
A partnership between the BBC, ITV, Five, Channel 4, Arqiva, BT and TalkTalk, YouView would be a set-top box that could receive digital channels via your aerial, but would also connect to the internet and access the last seven days’ TV programmes via catch-up services.
Viewers would be able to whiz backwards and forwards in time through the on-screen programme guide (EPG) to view current programmes, set recorders for shows in the future, or access programmes they missed through services such as BBC iPlayer.
It was to be a subscription TV service without the subscription.
Is YouView already old-hat?
It sounded like a great idea and we were all geared up to test the box in our Which? test labs, but there was just one snag – the launch never happened. The 2010 date got delayed to 2011 and nothing appeared. And then 2011 became 2012 and it’s still not here.
May this year was touted as the latest launch date, but the word-on-the-street suggests that it’s been delayed again and a ‘summer launch’ is more likely. Some pundits suggest that it may even miss the Olympics, the tele-visual feast that’s bound to drive sales of TVs and set-top boxes.
To be honest the launch of YouView has become a bit of an industry joke – the technological equivalent of ‘Waiting for Godot’.
The trouble is, even if YouView does launch tomorrow, it may well have missed the boat. Since 2010 we’ve seen the rise of Smart TVs that can access internet services and catch-up TV without the need for an additional box, and several other internet streaming devices have also come onto the market. The ‘something different’ that YouView would have offered seems rather old-hat now.
So, if it ever launches, would a YouView box interest you, or are you happy with your current TV and the services it offers?