Julian Clover gets his hands on YouView’s near pay-TV experience.
It’s been a little over a week since the YouView box took up residence underneath the TV, so a few reflections on the experience are called for before the PSB-telco broadband project asks for the Humax manufactured box back.
As a starting point it was probably one of the easiest installs I’d ever done. My modus operandi is to ignore the instruction book for as long as possible, so I only came unstuck when I realized that YouView doesn’t work off Wi-Fi and instead needs a fixed connection.
This shouldn’t really be a surprise given that Sky, BT and Virgin Media all require a fixed connection, the latter even building in additional bandwidth for its TiVo box.
So at this point I realized why the Powerline devices had been included in the package. If I had purchased this in the shops my outlay would have easily sailed past the already hefty £300 pricetag. Given that in most houses the phone/broadband socket is rarely by the TV, this is worth noting.
When the box was connected, and terrestrial channels found, the On Demand section both found that it was connected to a BT line, and that the owner didn’t yet have a BT Vision subscription.
The on demand as a whole wasn’t populated by much, although Sky’s Now TV and STV were announced at YouView’s launch, only the terrestrial broadcast partners were present in On Demand.
Much the same goes for the line-up in general, which perfectly mirrored the Freeview DTT line-up. There is the promise of IP channels, but this is early days. The content partners need to make good on their promises.
The EPG was stylish in its presentation and combined with the branded remote it was easy to navigate. In fact it looked just like what one might expect to get from a pay-TV operator and that maybe is the point.
As it stands you could pay the equivalent of YouView and get a year’s subscription to one of the UK’s pay-TV operators and potentially keep the box after the first year.
YouView’s stylish experience – which includes one of the best examples of picture quality I’ve seen – needs to be enough to convince those non-subscription households not to buy a subscription. Or maybe its success will be with its telcos BT and Talk Talk, but that’s probably not what its broadcaster founders intended.