Today is the official launch of YouView, although the service is not actually available yet! Devices will be available from major retailers by the end of July, including the likes of John Lewis, Amazon and Currys. The two service providers who are part of the project, TalkTalk and BT will also be launching packages based around YouView in due course, with TalkTalk set to announce their proposals on the 26th July, the day before the Olympics start.
The YouView set top box is said to "transform how UK viewers consume TV", although that claim is perhaps a little behind the times due to the plethora of devices that already intertwine the Internet with the TV. It does bring some advantages over those existing devices however, as the catch-up TV services of all the major terrestrial channels are included - BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD and Demand 5. It will be available in two ways- as a standalone product sold in shops and also through TalkTalk and BT who are expected to integrate it with broadband packages and also provide additional content (think BT Vision). It's expected to include dual tuners which will allow users to pause live TV and record up to 2 channels at once.
Users should be aware that any data used through the service will count toward any monthly broadband data allowances. YouView recommend a minimum of around 3Mbps (the bits claiming 3MBps are assumed to be a typo!) which could add up quite quickly - 2 hours a day, 5 times a week could come add up to nearly 30GB a month.
"It's with great pleasure that we announce that YouView will be available from major retailers later this month. Our intention with this simple–to-use box is to provide extraordinary TV for everyone, with on-demand services combined with TV channels with an opportunity to search back an entire week to catch what they've missed. It's a whole new way of experiencing TV."Lord Sugar, (Chairman) YouView