YouView’s CEO Richard Halton has underlined the difference that he sees in his own company’s set top box, which will allow broadband content to be viewed on TV screens, from rival products by Google and Apple.
Halton was talking to gathered media figures at BBC Scotland’s headquarters about what can be expected from YouView, the organisation made up of BBC, Channel 4, BT, ITV, Five, Arqiva and Talk Talk to deliver online and broadband content to television sets.
Halton described rival online broadband TV offering Google TV as ‘interesting’ but also ‘different’ in his view.
“In terms of the audience experience, it feels quite like the web on TV,” explained Halton.
“What we’re trying to do is think about how the TV in living room is used and what matters to people in that context. Where Google and Apple are trying a slightly different route is that they’ve separated normal television from connected television and you swap from one world to the other when you move from television to broadband. We think that the real value is in seamlessly merging the two. The other thing is that Google’s TV’s remote from Sony has 81 buttons on it…we’re trying to keep things really simple and keep our focus on the Freeview audience and that simplicity and the television audience is very important.”
Halton also said that there would be two methods to buying YouView; through either a one-off purchase of around £200, or through subsidised offers with broadband providers.
The product is currently being trialled at a few homes ahead of expanding the trial to a few hundred homes in the New Year to ensure that the platform is ‘stable’ and that it works. This will again be expanded to 2,000 homes, and then once the organisation is convinced that the offer is fully working it shall begin its marketing activity targeting a launch in the first half of 2011.
“We’re then looking ahead at the London Olympics the following July, which is going to be the first really big, connected TV event where you’ll be able to see every hour of Olympics coverage in your living room, whether it’s online or whether it’s by your television set,” he continued.
Halton also revealed that YouView have received interest from between 30 and 40 technology companies in building and releasing set top boxes featuring its service.