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YouView is now too late for the Olympics


Published: 25 May, 2012


The UK's YouView connected TV project has become a long running soap opera with constant changes of script and personnel but nobody quite sure exactly when it will end. Just when we thought it could be postponed no longer its launch date has slipped again, this time behind the supposedly ultimate deadline of the London Olympics.

There is no point going back over all the laborious detail here, save to recap a few key facts. One was that it has been subject to numerous postponements, including some embarrassing missed deadlines. Firstly it was to be for Christmas 2010, then around May 2011, at which time one of the STB partners Technicolor lost patience and dropped out, leaving six remaining, Humax, Huawei, Pace, Manhattan, Vestel and Cisco.

Later in September 2011, Chris Bramley, formerly chief architect at BSkyB, was appointed as YouView's CTO. This was interesting as BSkyB, once one of YouView's harshest critics, had by this time warmed to the project, anticipating that it could be an outlet for its content. Unlike Virgin Media, the UK's other major pay TV operator, which only stands to lose from a successful YouView, BSkyB as a major rights holder as well, can win either way.

Although the YouView box itself will be free of subscription, the founding partners and others will be able to offer pay TV within it. The difference compared say with Virgin Media's Tivo box will be that subscribers will be able to access content on the web outside the boundaries of any single pay TV service - although Virgin Media's Tivo offers access to web content such as YouTube under the operator's control.

YouView will still come out because it has to, but it will become aligned with HbbTV, begging the question of why this was not done sooner.

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