YouView is now in 400,000 homes, with a fistful of new channels about to arrive. The online-tastic set-top box is about to get new standard and high-definition channels delivered via your Internet connection alongside the channels coming in your aerial — and there’s an Android app coming in the next few weeks too.
Those 400,000 viewers are now watching 2.2m video streams per week, and spending 3 hours a week watching on-demand and catch-up TV on their YouView box. More than half that number have taken advantage of a free YouView box with their TalkTalk broadband package.
Meanwhile YouView is staying tight-lipped for now about which channels will be added to the service in coming weeks, but it will be broadcast channels. YouView currently combines Freeview channels with catch-up and on-demand services from the likes of the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, all in one streamlined and easy to use package.
I tried out the updated box today, and was happy to see that the new channels will slip seamlessly into the current episode guide. In fact, you won’t even know you’re watching a channel delivered via the Internet rather than via your aerial except for three little dots beneath an Internet channel’s number.
YouView wants to launch the new channels — which are likely to include BT’s new sports channels and new HD channels too — in the next few 4-6 weeks, before the start of the football season. At first, you won’t be able to pause, rewind and fast-forward Internet channels, but that should be added later.
You’ll know when you get new channels because a notification will pop up. If you’re one of the majority of YouViewers who got a box with your BT or TalkTalk broadband then you should get the new channels straight away, but if you bought your own YouView box you’ll have to wait a little longer — even if you also have BT or TalkTalk broadband broadband, strangely.
There’s also an Android app set to arrive in the next few weeks to join the existing iPhone and iPad app. It’s a simple programme guide with a now and next option, and I was impressed with the fast, smooth scrolling through the channels. There are synopses for shows and the option to record an episode or series from wherever you are in the world over your 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi connection.
More advanced features, such as using your Android phone as a remote control, or watching Freeview on your phone, are also on the cards.
Are you one of the 400,000 YouViewers? What do you think of the service, and what is it missing? Tell me your views in the comments or switch channels to our our Facebook page.