YouView, the Internet TV service that combines UK Freeview channels with on-demand programmes, has finally arrived in the UK.
The platform was due for release way back in 2010 but a string of delays has made 2012 the year of the YouView, as the product sneaks into the market just in time for the Olympics later this month – a cut-off time that some analysts said would make or break its success.
But is it too late for YouView already? Users will have access to programmes across the previous week from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel Five, as well as the ability to pause and rewind live TV, but the initial Humax box does not include integrated Wi-Fi; something that already sees it lag behind emerging rivals like Google TV.
YouView is likely to require additional add-ons if customers do not have wired Internet connections in the same room they wish to have the TV, with Gartner analyst Paul O’Donovan telling the BBC, "Anything that comes along requiring extra bits and pieces at extra expense is going to bring slow penetration into the market."
"It's a great mistake that they haven't integrated Wi-Fi into the hardware at this stage. The future is all about integrating handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets with a TV and you can't do that without a wireless connection. This gives Sky, Virgin and the Smart TV makers an opportunity to stay ahead for the foreseeable future."
Tech mogul and The Apprentice star Lord Sugar is the project’s non-executive chairman, and will hope to have his wrinkled features beamed through screens running YouView across the land. He said the Humax boxes will cost £299 (£100 more than Google TV), but ever the optimist, added that he would not be surprised if that was slashed to £99 within a couple of years.
Electronics retailers will supply the boxes later this month with no additional subscription payments necessary, while YouView will also be available in broadband packages from internet service providers. Among them are BT and TalkTalk who will offer additional content in their deals, while Sky is planning to add its Now TV product - offering movies, sport and entertainment - at a later date.