TalkTalk will be the first operator to give its customers YouView’s re-engineered user interface. It will be followed by BT and YouView’s retail boxes as the telco-PSB venture prepares to upgrade all 2.5 million deployed boxes.
YouView CEO Richard Halton explained that when executives first sat down 18 months ago to work on the Next Gen product it was essential that all existing customers were brought along.
“Next Gen is about building on what’s already great, trying to build on the principals of simplicity and ease of use,” said Halton. As such when customers wake up to find their box has been upgraded it will be with their existing settings left in place and an EPG that on the surface has seen very little change, other than a refined YouView logo.
This gives way to a more streamlined, image led interface, rendered in HTML 5, following a reorganisation of the stack. There will also be more scope for BT and TalkTalk to stamp their own mark on what is presented to customers, though the YouView moniker will remain a constant.
Cloud-based technology means all the back office infrastructure runs through AWS and wherever possible functionality has been taken out of the box.
“By bringing things to the cloud it means we can export that to other devices… users will bring their own devices to which we can provide applications,” explained Halton. Once registered the box will provide a list of recordings to a mobile or tablet app, and on the roadmap the content (or a version of it) to the devices or a secondary YouView box.
Broadcasters including shareholders BBC and ITV have been involved in the process throughout. Their initial requirements distilled down to a single page. The current shareholder agreement runs until 2019, Halton laying out that YouView is far beyond just an extension of DTT platform Freeview.
Launch time on services such as iPlayer has been reduced from some 20 second on early boxes to just 3 or 4, show titles on shorter shows, for example on kids content, expand when highlighted and MYView, the repository for recorded content, is now MyTV with an expanded role to come.
Taking advantage of the new operator areas, TalkTalk is expanding its More TV area when it upgrades its 1.3 million YouView customers. Aleks Habdank Managing Director of TalkTalk TV, said: “We’re passionate about finding new ways to bring our customers the best quality products and services at an unbeatable price. The way we watch TV is constantly evolving and our customers now want to mix and match between popular shows on the likes of the BBC and ITV; rent a movie every now and then; binge watch Netflix boxsets; or dip in and out of extra Sky Sports, kids or entertainment channels.”
TalkTalk will commence its upgrade from November 28.