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Friday, February 11, 2011

YouView Launch Delayed Until 2012

YouView[11]A few weeks ago I wrote about how it looked as though YouView would be delayed until 2012.  Well this week YouView confirmed that is indeed the case.  The statement on its website doesn’t reveal much, other than to same that the complexity of the “significant technological innovation” of the project have affected timescales.

Indeed so complex is the challenge that many rivals now have the opportunity to steal a march on the service.  Google TV and Boxee have already launched, Virgin Media have offered catch-up TV on demand services for quite some time and are due to launch a new TIVO box in the next few months while Sky have also recently launched its enhanced on-demand service to its TV and internet subscribers.  With this further delay, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if YouView fails to materialise at all, particular as their competitors seem to be much better at bringing the technology to market.

The biggest problem to the uptake of any IPTV service in the UK remains the poor broadband speeds available to the majority of potential users. Its ok wanting to change the way we view TV, but for the majority if the experience isn’t a smooth and seamless one they are likely to stick with what they no best.  The reason Sky+ has been so successful is its simplicity and the way it seamlessly integrates with the traditional TV.  It is suggested that a 2Mbps internet connection will be the minimum requirement for the YouView service. My own ADSL service seems to peak at around 8Mbps and even at peak times doesn’t seem to drop below 3-4Mbps.  However, try streaming things such as BBC iPlayer and even at these speeds we suffer from buffering problems to the point it becomes annoying and seriously effects the ability to enjoy programs.

From Ofcom surveys I have read, my understanding is my internet speeds are pretty average for the UK, and this is where the real problem lies.  Until internet speeds in the UK increase, IPTV services are never likely to become mainstream as the user experience is significantly poorer than the traditional alternative.

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