YouView Launch Reset to 2012

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Its official: YouView, the BBC-backed IPTV project, won’t see the light of day until early 2012.

Initial plans were for a commercial launch before the end of 2010, but this start date was delayed as the project underwent scrutiny and eventual approval by the BBC's governing body the BBC Trust.

Plans were re-set for a launch this spring, with later noises by the project’s leaders indicating that a summer 2011 launch was more likely.

YouView executives now say the launch will be further delayed by six months, in the light of reports of continuing technical difficulties.

It’s a damaging, but not yet fatal, blow to the project’s chances of success.

In a statement, YouView chief executive Richard Halton said: "Our focus has always been to deliver a product to consumers that is right, but not rushed. Creating a truly open TV platform that will bring consumers increased choice has required significant technological innovation. Our timings for the launch reflect the scale and complexity of this project."

YouView was forced to make the announcement following a statement on Tuesday by one of the project’s backers, the ISP TalkTalk.

It said: "The project schedule is kept under review, but the development of YouView is progressing well and all the partners remain committed to creating a high-quality TV experience for customers."

With connected TV products coming to market from a range of manufacturers including Sony, LG, and Samsung, as well as the 2011 rollout of Virgin Media’s TV service powered by TiVo, any delay will increase the competition for YouView’s target audience—roughly the 10 million U.K. homes with DTT service Freeview.

However the market for connected TV is nascent and, provided YouView can overcome its technical hurdles and maintain harmony among its backers, the project should still make a substantial impact on the market in 2012.

It will benefit from cross-platform marketing on terrestrial TV channels and the impetus for sales in the run-up to the London Olympics 2012.

YouView still expects trials to take place later this year.

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