- YouView launch announced
- YouView Which? First Look verdict
- What is YouView?
- Which? tests of Best Buy set-top boxes and PVRs
On 4th July 2012 YouView finally announced the launch if its set-top box and service and it went on sale at the end of July 2012.
YouView is available in two ways; from retailers, with no further TV subscription, or from an ISP as part of a phone and broadband package. BT and TalkTalk offer packages with additional content and services to customers accessing YouView via their broadband networks.
We've since put the first YouView box to the test and you can find the results, alongside those of its competitors, in our set-top box reviews. But for more information about the service read our guide below.
What is YouView?
YouView is a subscription-free service that combines the ability to receive digital TV channels with access to the last seven days' TV programmes via catch-up services. It also brings on-demand TV services and other interactive applications to your TV. Both standard and high-definition content are available.
Set-top boxes and PVRs (personal video recorders) with YouView functionality bring services such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD, Demand Five and SeeSaw directly to your TV.
YouView includes an application (app) store so that other services can be downloaded and added as they become available.
YouView is subscription-free, so that those unable or unwilling to pay for content will not have to do so, though there is the option to access pay-TV content for those who want more choice.
Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) and catch-up TV
Viewers will be able to go backwards as well as forwards in time through the on-screen programme guide (EPG) to view current programmes, to programme recorders for shows in the future, or to access programmes that they might have missed through services such as BBC iPlayer and others from ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.
The idea is that the route by which the content is delivered (either over-the-air or via the internet) will be invisible to viewers, so that they can seamlessly access a greater range of content without having to think about how this is broadcast. Accessing catch-up TV services should feel as natural as changing channel.
Who's involved in YouView?
YouView is a partnership between the BBC, ITV, BT, Channel 4, TalkTalk, Arqiva and Five.
How can I get YouView?
YouView will be available in two ways; from retailers, with no further TV subscription, or from an ISP as part of a phone and broadband package. Retail partners already signed up include John Lewis, Currys, Comet, Argos, Amazon, Richer Sounds and the Euronics group. BT and TalkTalk will announce their packages soon. They will offer additional content and services to customers accessing YouView via their broadband networks.
What are the other potential benefits of YouView?
YouView should provide viewers with an increased range of content available to them. YouView says that it'll also open up new opportunities for all types of content providers, including public bodies, arts organisations, charities and local TV providers, to reach television sets by lowering many of the barriers they previously faced.
Any manufacturer will be able to make a YouView device, and any content provider will have the opportunity to run a video-on-demand service. Also, different developers will be able to create applications which will help stimulate competition both for products, content and applications.
YouView hopes this new, low-cost platform will aid the growth of local news and TV services, which the UK Government is seeking to encourage. It'll also give access to websites such as Direct.gov through a TV set.
Which? and YouView
Which? will thoroughly lab-test YouView products as soon as they are available, to ensure that the products we recommend are the best on the market.