Against all odds, the streaming TV service co-run by Lord Sugar has finally launched in the UK.
Up until this week, nobody thought YouView would be on the market in time for the Olympics. It looks like the development team has proved us wrong – just. Despite two years of delays, YouView boxes will be on the market in mid-July.
YouView has received more than £10m of funding from our license fees, so the pressure is really on. Some experts believe that YouView is too late to capitalise on the demand for streaming television, and launching so late into July is pointless when the Olympics are due to begin within a matter of weeks.
The YouView box streams all terrestrial channels plus the other channels you’d expect to find on Freeview. It also allows you to pause and rewind TV, similar to a Sky box, and provides TV on demand thanks to an EPG which spans 14 days: 7 in the past, 7 in the future. In many ways, YouView is designed to be an upgraded alternative to Freeview with all the perks of satellite or cable.
At £299, YouView is pretty expensive, particularly since the Apple TV costs £89 and Google TV costs £199. Unlike its rivals, YouView will be available with a contract from ISPs, bringing the price down in exchange for the purchase of extra content such as video or apps. BT are likely to offer Premiership football for a fee, while TalkTalk are joining forces with LoveFilm to provide movies on demand through the box. There’s also room for new channels to be launched, so we could see all kinds of alternative streams launching over the next few years. That would make YouView a much more interesting proposition.