The launch of web TV service IPTV service YouView has been delayed until early 2012 due to the ‘growing scale and complexity of the project’.
YouView (formely known as Project Canvas) will let viewers with broadband enabled sets access to video-on-demand content from BBC ITV and C4, in partnership with technology firms Arqiva, BT and TalkTalk.
The service was originally scheduled in to go live in the first half of 2011 but the joint venture will have a product in trial by the end of 2011, with a full consumer launch to follow by early 2012.
The service was announced as Project Canvas in December 2008 with the aim of bringing IPTV to UK households via broadband-enabled set-top boxes, in much the same way as Freeview and Freesat currently do with digital TV.
Because YouView uses broadband, it will be able to bring catch-up TV, on-demand services and web applications to living rooms for the cost of the set-top box with no subscription fee.
However, there were signs in January that the project may be delayed: “We are keeping timings under review and our priority is to ensure we get the product right. Development of YouView is progressing well and our shareholders are fully supportive of our strategy for delivery,” a YouView spokeswoman told silicon.com.
Regarding the new timescale, YouView CEO Richard Halton said the aim has always been to deliver a product that is right rather than rushed. “Our timings for the launch reflect the scale and complexity of this project,” he added.
Project Canvas attracted criticism from several quarters that the joint venture was anti-competitive, but it has been approved by the BBC’s independent regulator, the BBC Trust while Ofcom said it will not be investigating the project.
The YouView joint venture has been working with set-top box manufacturers and content providers since the summer of 2010 with the BBC leading the research and development of the platform.
The joint venture has also said it will shortly publish its core technical specifications – based on common standards – which will allow other device makers and content providers to develop products for the platform.