YouView Delayed Until 2012? | BBC Set-Top Box Behind Schedule, Risks Becoming Obsolete

1 min read

YouView-LogoOn paper YouView looks like being a phenomenal product. But delays in launching, an argument over technical standards, and other factors appear to be ruining any chances of a successful launch.


YouView is what Project Canvas used to be: an attempt to create a new connected-TV platform with partners including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, TalkTalk, BT, Arqiva, and Channel 5 pooling their resources to make it happen.

However, the problems are mounting. First, and totally unsurprisingly, BSkyB and Virgin Media raised objections to the platform, and now comes news of an enforced delay which could see YouView not appearing until the middle of next year.

Not Until 2012?

According to the Telegraph newspaper, it’s looking unlikely that YouView will be available by the start of the 2012 Olympics, mainly due to a failure to “agree technical standards with a key TV industry body [Digital TV Group] and function properly when tested.”

The BBC will have spent £6 million on the project by this April, with all the various partners sharing the total cost of £115 over the first four years.

The CEO of YouView, Richard Halton, replied to the claims:

We want to get YouView right and don’t want to rush the development. We will understand our launch position better by the end of March. We are not ruling out any launch date either way.

So, not a denial by any means, but it’s too early to count YouView out just yet.

Costly Delay…

If YouView is delayed to the extent which is being reported then the big question has to be whether it’ll be too little, too late by that point. YouView is essentially FreeView with catch-up services built in, and with the majority of homes now having a FreeView box people will need to have a very good reason to upgrade.

By this time next year the number of devices able to deliver iPlayer and other catch-up services into living rooms will have risen sharply, and that will mean the BBC and its partners essentially playing catch-up themselves. Which really doesn’t bode well for a successful launch.

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