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Lord Sugar: YouView won’t be ready ‘til end of 2012

Though Katie Wright was the last to feel the wrath of Lord Sugar’s finger on The Apprentice, the former Amstrad boss is apparently pointing his objecting digit in the general direction of YouView.

Talking to a ‘senior source,’ the Telegraph reveals that Lord Sugar, Chairman of YouView, doesn’t think that the service will be up and running by the time of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Technical problems mean that it’s now thought that the service won’t be ready until towards the end of the year.

However sources close to the matter have told Recombu Digital about promotional materials being prepared for a summer launch, suggesting that the pre-Olympics window is still on the cards.

TalkTalk recently announced that it’s hiring 250 engineers for the rollout of YouView as part of its commitment to the joint venture.

YouView UK launch date: Still TBC

YouView is a Freeview-esque service that combines free to air digital channels with access to on-demand services like Netflix, LoveFilm, Blinkbox, Sky Go and Spotify. In one sense, it’s doing what a lot of connected Smart TV sets do already, but in the form of a set-top box.

As well as providing access to on-demand content via subscription streaming services, you’ll also be able to scroll backwards through the EPG to pick up on certain shows you’ve missed. This catch-up service will launch the BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD and Demand Five apps, and so not every programme in the EPG will be available for backwards catch-up; it’s hoped that channels such as Dave will at some point provide a back catch-up feature.

A joint venture between the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, TalkTalk, BT and Arqiva, YouView has spent more than £20 million since its founding.

Last autumn, Lord Sugar fired YouView’s marketing and press team, making preparing for a big launch tough. The BBC, Freesat and Sky, EuroSport and Virgin Media have dominated headlines when it comes to Olympics-related TV meaning that YouView will need to make a big song and dance if its to attract attention from the competition.

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