Have you heard of YouView? It could be the future of TV

Have you seen those Virgin Media TiVo ads where Marc Warren boasts of a programme guide that can take you back in time to you watch the shows you’ve missed?

Well a new TV service built around FreeView is about to bring that and much more to the homes of those who don’t want – or have access to – cable.

Like BT Vision, YouView combines Freeview with broadband delivered pay On Demand content and a free catch up service but, unlike BT’s offering, will be open to users of any broadband provider.


And, just like Virgin Media’s TiVo, YouView will also provide access to apps, turning your TV into a portal through which you can access a whole array of connected content.

With an expected February 2012 launch, YouView will arrive just a few months after Virgin Media finally bring their much promised software update to their TiVo and with a pretty similar set of features but minus the mandatory monthly subscription, a key advantage which could lure away some sign-ups for the cable company.

It’s not just Virgin who stand to lose from a successful YouView service.

I’ve long argued that Apple has been missing a trick with its Apple TV – it’s far too US-centric and even with the arrival of mirroring it’s still not fulfilling the hopes many users had for it.

It all goes to plan, YouView is perfectly placed to squeeze the Apple TV even further to the margins and reduce the appeal of subscription offerings such as Virgin’s TiVo.

It also threatens to pose some issues for Sky.

Over on the Sky help forums, customers who buy broadband from other companies are complaining they they’re unable to access Sky’s broadband delivered Anytime+ service.

Customers with fast broadband from other providers say they have no intention to switching to slower Sky broadband and dispute Sky’s statements that they limit access in order to ensure the best user experience.

The arrival of a comparable service which is open to customers of all broadband firms is likely to increase pressure on the satellite firm to open up Anytime+.

A year from now, a service few viewers have heard could well be causing major headaches for some of the biggest names in home entertainment.

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Comments

  1. Elia says

    Will users of any broadband provider including those that cap or throttle enjoy a dedicated quality of service like TiVo? The same TiVo which, unlike YouView, does not require a monthly broadband subscription.

    Amy suggestion that YouView is not a subscription service is complete nonsense, without a broadband sub it can be nothing more than a basic freeview or freesat service with no on demand functionality.

    TiVo at entry level offers pay tv, catch up VOD, HD and OTT content at a price point YouView will struggle to beat.

  2. Martin Hoscik says

    Hi Ella

    >> Amy suggestion that YouView is not a subscription service is complete nonsense, without a broadband sub it can be nothing more than a basic freeview or freesat service with no on demand functionality.

    If a home already has broadband they’re already paying the cost of it, a YouView box would be just another thing they can do with that connection. It’s not a subscription specifically for YV.

    As for the service they enjoy, well thats for people to consider when they chose the service, just as people already manage to decide if their connection is suitable for XBox, PS3, a web connected TV, Apple TV or web enabled Blu-ray player.

    But of course there are people with Virgin media broadband (and other high quality BB services) which use Freeview and Freesat. YouView would be an ideal add-on for them. Again, they’re already paying for the BB connection, they just got a whole new way to make the most of it.