Unlike many of my colleagues, I left the event impressed with what we’d seen and expecting great things from the new service.
I took to my keyboard and predicted that YouView would be “a huge success, especially with Freeview homes looking to upgrade without committing to a long-term contract with Sky and Virgin Media and also with some existing pay TV homes.”
With more than 400,000 boxes sold by both retailers and ISPs TalkTalk and BT I think that faith has been justified.
While it hasn’t (yet) fulfilled my predictions of overshadowing Virgin Media’s TiVo, it has made a very similar feature-set available without mandatory subscription and boxes connected to BT’s broadband look set to offer the ISP’s sports channels before Virgin signs a deal to do so.
Those channels, like TalkTalk’s current pay-TV channels, are being delivered to YouView boxes over IPTV – the first time ever that many people will encounter internet delivered content on their big screens.
It’s possibly not an entire co-incidence that BT started their roll-out in the anniversary week, it’s a fitting way to show the wider YouView platform’s potential – some of which we were treated to an advance look at a few weeks back.
As a YouView user I’ve been a little dissatisfied at the slowness in adding new on-demand players to the service and while the upcoming UKTV catch-up player is nice, I’m still hoping for the arrival of bigger, optional pay services and a comprehensive music library from the likes of Vevo.
But I’ve been genuinely impressed at the pace and number of regular software updates, each of which have eliminated bugs and added new features, making good on initial promises that the platform would keep growing and be supported for the long-term.
It’s going to be fascinating to see what the next 12 months bring to the platform.
Excitingly the imminent arrival of fully integrated IPTV channels – initially only via BT and TalkTalk but later possibly direct from content owners and available to all – promises to transform the UK’s TV landscape, lowering the cost barriers to setting up a channel and giving new life to the vast programme libraries of broadcasters, production houses, museums and theatres.
Not bad for a service so many queued up 12 months ago to dismiss as offering nothing new.
YouView – the story so far:
16 September – The BBC Trust published the BBC’s initial proposals for Project Canvas
16 September – YouView launched as the brand to bring free-to-air internet connected TV services to UK homes
September – Richard Halton appointed CEO of YouView TV Ltd
14 April – YouView published its final core technical specification for launch and announced further device partners including Huawei
13 February – Production starts for the Humax YouView boxes
23 May – Alpha Trials commence
4 July – PR Launch
26 July – Humax YouView boxes hit the shelves
7 August – NOW TV on demand player joins YouView
28 August – Milkshake! on demand player joins YouView
29 August – STV on demand player joins YouView
22 September – YouView advertising campaign launched
October – TalkTalk advertising campaign launched
22 October – YouView set-top box scoops What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision Award
2 November – Stuff magazine awards the YouView Humax set-top box ‘Video Gadget of the Year’
12 December – YouView app for iOS launches
January – BT advertising campaign launched
January – Software update introduces Live TV content into the Search Function
14 February – Humax launches new silver box for YouView
March – Lord Sugar steps down from YouView and Sir Charles Dunstone as interim Chairman
April – Software update includes enhancement to searching for programmes that are on now and next and the introduction of Channel Filters in the Guide
16 May – TalkTalk announces YouView is fastest growing new TV service in the UK
30 May – YouView heads towards 400,000 homes
25 June 2013 – YouView launches app for Android
25 June 2013 – UKTV signs landmark agreement with YouView
28 June 2013 – New On Demand Service from Television X joins YouView
1 July 2013 – YouView TV Census 2013 reveals catch-up TV now accounts for a fifth of British TV viewing