Although rather late to the market, the YouView platform could eventually solve the current mishmash of set top boxes, disjointed Internet based services and inconsistent user interfaces.

YouView is different because it builds on the existing Freeview+ system, which offers a consistent user experience and programme data regardless of who makes the box, coupled with the near seamless integration of other services, such as BBC iPlayer and catch-up TV services from ITV, Channel Four and Channel Five.

What’s more, the open platform allows other broadcasters to get involved for a relatively small investment, which means you’ll be seeing Sky’s Now TV service and most likely services from Netflix and/or Lovefilm.

Another new feature of YouView is being able to go back in time, a facility that isn’t quite as out of this world as you might think. With a connection to the Internet, it makes perfect sense to allow access to already broadcasted content. YouView simply makes things easier to find by allowing you to scroll back through the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) and watch things that have been and gone.

You can, however, also search for programmes in a more traditional way – without interrupting your viewing.

It’s this attention to detail that should make YouView a success, even if the initial box is quite an investment at £300 with just 500GB of storage –  not much for all of the content you might begin to download or record from the many different sources.

However, YouView isn’t about a single device and there will be other devices to come besides the first offering, with more storage options and the possibility of integration within future televisions. BT and TalkTalk will be offering variants of the launch box for its customers, with the option to get the box for a discount as part of a telephone/broadband subscription.

YouView website | YouView via TalkTalk | YouView via BT

YouView – Key Specifications

YouView Humax box
Storage space 500GB
Broadcast TV Freeview + Freeview HD
TV on Demand Yes
Catch up TV Yes
PVR functionality Yes
Apps and Games No
Web browser No
USB port to play media No
Wi-Fi Direct No
Ethernet/Wi-Fi Yes/Optional dongle
HD support Yes, up to 1080p
Dolby Digital Yes
YouTube No
Music/Movie Streaming Services Yes
Mobile/Online programming No
Remote viewing of content No
Other EPG with ability to scroll back a week through programme data, launch of Sky Now TV confirmed and more services to follow.

About author
Involved in tech since 1990, from selling mobile phones and computers, to writing about them for trade and consumer publications, such as Mobile News, What Mobile, Know Your Mobile and Stuff. If writing about mobiles wasn't exciting enough, being paid to watch TV during work hours is the icing on the cake. Jonathan on Google+

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