YouView extends set-top testing
By Julian Clover

Hybrid broadcast venture YouView is preparing to extend trials beyond the 100 employees that are currently demoing the much-delayed platform.

The plan is to extend the triallists beyond the media comfort zone of London with members being selected to ensure they are representative of UK demographics.

Originally slated for launch in Christmas 2010 YouView, whose backers include the BBC, ITV, Arqiva, BT and TalkTalk, has been regularly put back. The FT is reporting that 2,500 homes could have YouView installed before the start of the Olympics, but with no launch date set, many analysts believe the platform has missed a major opportunity.

Such numbers are considerably short of the 3,000 ‘Friends and Family’ boxes from the manufacturer Huwaei promised by TalkTalk last November or the 10,000 to follow early in 2012. Earlier this month TalkTalk repeated that its plans for YouView remained in schedule.
The lesson learnt from the launch of Freeview HD – and indeed connected TVs in general – is that the public are buying new TVs for their own sake and not for the new emerging technologies. Many devices in the space already offer the access to the BBC iPlayer and Lovefilm touted by YouView, while the much talked about ‘backwards EPG’ is also fast becoming a common feature.

Christmas 2012 now seems the most likely launch point for YouView, though no official announcements have been made, indeed the last press statement to be issued was last September.