A view from the Continent. During the launch of the YouView box, Lord Sugar described the set as a great moment in British television. “It’s not like producing a Sky box, we had to start from scratch, a bit like the first television transmission.” But is it really?
Sometimes there is a grand vision, I remember BSB, a project that couldn’t fail because all the elements were right. Problem was, they forgot to look at the real world.
Of course, YouView looks great, feels great and offers the viewers a lot of comfort and new features. In a way, it also reminds me of Liberty Global’s Horizon project – or perhaps we should call it the grand Horizon vision.
On paper, it’s great – but will the viewer buy it? Why should he or she fork out 299 pounds for a set-top that is basically a DTT tuner for Freeview and a PVR combined with connectivity to IP for streaming and on-demand web services.
Wasn’t this the same product that Fetch TV offered? Only with a – I assume – better UI and simpler navigation and comes with a number of ready installed apps, such as BBC iPlayer, 4OD, ITV Player and Demand 5.
And, wait a minute, no Wi-Fi? Who has Ethernet next to their TV set?
And doesn’t the Vision 247 service also offer a lot of the same functionalities – at least for streaming channels – without the need to buy additional equipment?
And what about a Sony/Samsung/LG/Philips smart TV with DVB-T2 tuner? They are hybrid as can be, and with an ever-increasing number of Apps also becoming better every day.
Smart TV sets also have access to the ‘open’ internet as well as to the local network to view locally stored content, music, photos, videos and downloads – it’s all there. And don’t forget these smart TVs are about to start streaming content to tablets as well.
Come to think of it, Horizon is probably a bigger vision than YouView. When that baby sees the light of day, it will also offer streaming to tablets and access to locally stored content.
YouView better be the very best UI in the world to convince people to part with 299 pounds – or am I missing something?
Meanwhile, broadcasters in other European countries are launching or gearing up for HbbTV services – a standard, which comes in almost every new TV set. No need for additional boxes!