YouView confirms July launch

YouView: Lord Sugar (third from left) with the joint partners in the venture
YouView: Lord Sugar (third from left) with the joint partners in the venture

YouView, the internet-connected TV joint venture, has confirmed it will finally be in shops by the end of July, with set-top boxes priced at £299.

Initially, YouView boxes will be available from John Lewis, Currys, Comet, Argos, Amazon, Richer Sounds and the Euronics group of retailers, while partners BT and Talk Talk will soon offer boxes as part of their broadband packages.

Through their packages, BT and Talk Talk will offer additional content and services to customers accessing YouView through their broadband networks.

Via the new YouView box, viewers will be able to watch more than 100 digital TV and radio channels, as well as on-demand video content from the libraries of the broadcast partners, the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

The YouView set-top box's electronic progamme guide allows users to scroll back seven days to watch programmes they have missed, allows viewers to record, pause and rewind live TV, and search for on-demand content.

Lord Sugar, who joined as chairman of YouView in March last year, said: "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."

YouView will constantly update the audio-visual content it offers from third-party partners such as Sky and STV, and has today (4 July) begun a formal enrolment process for third-party content partners.

YouView's launch has been stalled by repeated delays. It was first earmarked to launch back in 2010. The venture began life as Project Canvas, after the blocking of the previous internet TV joint venture, Project Kangaroo.

Richard Halton, chief executive of YouView, said: "Today, YouView is being enjoyed in over 2,000 homes and the feedback from the trial is very encouraging. It confirms that YouView is easy to set up and use and different to what has gone before.

"In many ways, we've only just begun, YouView is set to evolve quickly and we look forward to working with new content partners and developing more functionality as boxes roll out into UK homes."

Yesterday, Media Week revealed that Channel 5 has begun talking to media agencies about advertising on YouView and that the platform will be supported by a heavyweight marketing campaign in the autumn.

Follow Maisie McCabe on Twitter @MaisieMcCabe

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