Public trials will start this week for YouView, the UK’s much-delayed connected TV platform, according to reports in the Financial Times, which appear to confirm that the platform will miss its launch deadline of the London 2012 Olympics.
The report adds that an alpha trial of around 350 homes outside London has been agreed by YouView’s board, with the trialists selected to reflect a broad viewing audience.
If the alpha tests are successful, thousands more YouView-compatible set-top boxes could be arriving in homes after as little as four weeks for a round of beta tests, a company spokesperson told the FT.
The YouView platform was originally conceived three years ago to offer the ‘plug-in-and-watch’ simplicity of DTT platform Freeview, plus the UK’s leading internet catch-up and video on-demand services, all instantly available through one simple, intuitive set-top box and proprietary electronic programme guide.
However, the partners behind the project (the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five, major ISPs BT and TalkTalk, and broadcast services provider Arqiva) have suffered multiple set-backs, and this latest news appears to confirm that the platform will not launch in time for the Olympics, as previously hoped.
TalkTalk indicated a few weeks ago that it expects to introduce a triple-play package featuring the YouView service in the third quarter of this year – more details here.