If you’ve not yet heard of YouView then you soon will. It’s already been described by Lord Alan Sugar as “a great moment in British television”.
A new-style set-top box giving access to both Freeview and online catch-up TV from the likes of the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, 5 and Sky, it goes on sale at the end of July.
But while its £299 price-tag has been the focus of much controversy, with many experts saying it is too high, there are plenty of reasons to think about buying a YouView box for your living room. Here are 10 of them.
Trading up from basic Freeview
If you’re yet to make the step up from an original Freeview box to one that records programmes using Freeview+ or the high-definition Freeview+HD, then YouView is the natural successor. You’ll get both of those thanks to an internal hard drive allowing recording of around 150 hours of HD content and far more in standard definition plus you have the online capabilities.
Catch-up TV without a PC
Watching television on your computer screen, or even on a mobile tablet such as Apple’s iPad, just isn’t the same as on a big screen. YouView simply integrates all the main on-demand services from the terrestrial broadcasters such as iPlayer and ITV Player putting hundreds of hours of extra telly at your fingertips.
You’ll never need to complain again about missing one of your favourite shows, or one of the most talked about programmes. At the press of a button, you should be able to find it, along with an archive of older favourites.
Simple to use and set up
YouView has been designed with non-technical people in mind. Everything is controlled through the well-laid out Electronic Programme Guide, which even lets you scroll backwards by seven days to see what you missed. Clicking on these programmes then launches the catch-up service in the background without you even realising you’re watching online rather than from a live TV signal through your aerial.
There’s no Wi-Fi so you must connect to your router with an Ethernet cable meaning this must be close to your TV and aerial socket for access to Freeview.
All the fun of Freeview and more
YouView has more than 100 digital TV and radio channels to choose from alongside the seven day catch-up and on-demand content libraries. Plus you can pause and rewind live TV in the same way you can with a Sky+ or TiVo box and the deep search function can find programmes by name and even the names of actors.
No subscriptions to pay
Unlike with Sky and Virgin Media, YouView has no subscription to pay each month. Once you pay for the cost of the set-top box, that is it, apart from the cost of your broadband from whichever internet service provider you choose.
Masses of content promised
YouView bosses promise there will be far more content partnerships coming in the future with more than 300 potential partners already saying they want to launch on the platform. Lord Sugar says anyone can start a TV channel on YouView for as little as £50,000, which could mean a real-life Wayne’s World springing up. Already Scottish provider STV has signed up and been revealed.
Successful trials have happened
Richard Halton, CEO of YouView, says more than 2,000 homes are currently trialling the service and the feedback has been positive. He explained:
“It confirms that YouView is easy to set up and use and different to what has gone before. In many ways we’ve only just begun, YouView is set to evolve quickly and we look forward to working with new content partners and developing more functionality as boxes roll out into UK homes.”
Sky will be coming to YouView
This year Sky will launch its NOW TV on-demand internet service on YouView meaning non-subscribers to the service can still watch some of its most popular programmes without a contractual commitment. NOW TV will include content from Sky Movies that can be purchased on an unlimited subscription or pay-as-you-go with sports such as football expected to be added later.
No need to buy a connected TV
If you can’t afford to trade up to an internet connected television from the likes of Samsung, Panasonic, Sony or LG, then YouView will be a cheaper alternative – especially if you’ve only recently bought a larger flat screen TV.
If you can afford it, it will even work as an extra box in another room but remember you will need to connect it by a wire to your router. However, you could invest in a Powerline adaptor that plugs into the electrical sockets to send broadband signals around your home via the electricity Earth cable.
It’s backed by the whole industry
YouView may have taken years to get off the ground and may not sound as innovative now as it may have done two or three years ago. But it has the support of the whole UK TV industry and many other technology companies.
BT and ISP TalkTalk are supporters too and will generate their own content for it. BT’s ownership of the second rights to Premier League football from 2013/14 may also give it a boost making this available on YouView, possibly on a pay-per-game basis. With so many big-name backers, the future for YouView is limitless.
Here’s some more articles you might like: