youviewYouView chief executive Richard Halton has today defended the delay to the BBC-led joint venture, claiming that the new IPTV platform will be “worth the wait”.
Speaking at the Digital TV Group (DTG) Summit in London, Halton reiterated that the project, which aims to upgrade the Freeview and Freesat platforms to support video on-demand and internet services, will have a product ready this year for “extensive” testing.

Under the new plans, YouView will go into full consumer launch in 2012, backed by a range of branded set top boxes, personal video recorders and integrated TVs.
YouView, the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, BT, TalkTalk and Arqiva joint venture previously known as Project Canvas, was initially scheduled to launch in the second quarter of this year, before being pushed back amid reported disagreements over technical specifications.
Halton, who took charge of YouView last September, said that the delay was all about “taking the time to get the consumer launch right”.
He added: “It was a choice between rushing something out to meet a date, or getting it right first.”
Halton noted that many successful consumer products have come after the manufacturer took the time to get the technology right. He pointed to BBC iPlayer, Apple’s iPhone and Nintendo’s recently-launched 3DS handheld as examples of products that were “worth the wait”.
The chief executive also stressed that YouView is “trying to solve problems that are quite common to the industry, and problems that are coming down in the track”, including security and standardisation issues.
“Working these problems out in the context of the horizontal market is very challenging and I hope that we can contribute to that,” he said.
YouView’s consumer proposition will offer all of the linear TV channels currently available on the Freeview and Freesat platforms. It will also carry a variety of VOD services, including the on-demand players offered by the public service broadcasters, including BBC iPlayer and ITV Player.
The YouView electronic programme guide will blend linear TV with on-demand via a backwards functionality, enabling users to browse seven days forward to set recordings or go seven days back to access catch-up. An active search engine will enable users to navigate the wide range of content across all providers.
Halton stressed that YouView will be compatible with any ISP, not just project partners BT and TalkTalk. He noted that Sky and Virgin are “rightly focusing” on developing their own customer bases, but YouView in contrast will be “platform agnostic”, meaning any ISP, manufacturer or content provider will be able to use it to launch services.
YouView also aims to enable content providers to have a more direct relationship with their consumers, including direct billing and branding of services.
“We see a lot of end user excitement around that, not just from our partners but from other providers,” said Halton.

YouView recently joined the DTG as part of an overall strategy to increase its openness with the digital TV industry. At last year’s DTG Summit, Halton faced a grilling from members of the organisation about the perceived lack of openness in YouView’s technical development.
Those concerns have consistently dogged the project, but Halton believes that the recent publishing of 14 separate technical documents was clear evidence of YouView’s increased engagement with the industry.

On April 14, the venture will publish a final core technical specification on the DTG’s member-exclusive website. The document will also later be published on YouView’s own site, which is open for public access. YouView has also worked closely with the DTG on the development of the new D-Book 7 technical document for connected TV devices.
YouView’s technical documents are designed to give manufacturers a blueprint for developing a range of devices, but also help content and application developers to create new services for the platform.
After publishing the documents, Halton said that YouView will work with the industry to help develop a range of products for when the platform launches next year. For content providers, he said, the project’s aim is to standardise the way that their services are published on multiple devices, freeing them up to focus on innovation.
Halton added: “Its the ability to publish on one YouView device, and so publish on all YouView devices. The consistency of experience is what you need.”

Share Button

By Expat