What is YouView?
YouView combines Freeview HD with catch-up from BBC iPlayer, ITV Player (including STV), 4oD and Demand Five via your broadband connection, combined in a single programme guide that goes forwards and backwards up to a week.
The YouView box you’ll find in shops is made by Humax and costs £299. For your money, you’ll get a 500GB hard drive and twin tuners (record one programme while watching another) – a 1TB version will be available in future. There’s also a compact 320GB box made by Huawei, which is exclusive to TalkTalk broadband customers.
This is the flagship YouView product. Lord Sugar described it as the ‘chassis’ and the ‘carcass’ for YouView; a template for other manufacturers to follow. Looking to the future, he envisaged YouView boxes costing £99 and YouView integrated TV sets.
YouView: What’s available to watch on-demand?
£300-odd is a lot for a product which does what many other devices are doing already. There’s plenty of existing Freeview HD recorders with twin tuners and access to iPlayer and other devices (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360) which give you access to catch-up platforms whil doing other things.
YouView is different though in that it lets you access live content and on-demand content from the same place.
Live TV and catch-up is smartly integrated through a single programme guide making dipping in and out of live TV and past broadcasts easy.
If you’d prefer, there is a separate catch-up section in addition to this. We appreciate the convenience of YouView’s approach though.
There’s also a search function, easily accessed from a dedicated button on the remote. This lets you look for older programmes using a Google Instant-style method of predictive text.
The downside of YouView is that there isn’t catch up content for every terrestrial channel yet. We searched in vain for an old episode of QI on Dave only to find that this wasn’t possible. Though if you want to catch up on Coronation Street, EastEnders or watch old episodes of Peep Show and Brass Eye you’re sorted.
Also, the search function won’t let you look for live or forthcoming programmes (so you can set reminders) but we understand that this is coming in a future update.
Sky’s Now and and TVXflix
Sky’s Now TV is live, with a selection of films from Sky Movies, available as pay-per-view rentals and with a £15/month Sky Movies Pass.
Sky Sports will begin streaming live events via Now TV in 2013, including the Barclays Premier League and UEFA Champions League. Selected shows from Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Arts and Sky Living are promised soon after.
TVXflix is an adult on-demand streaming library from Television X, with prices from £4.99 for a 48-hour rental of one show or £9.99 for a month of unlimited viewing.
BT and TalkTalk
BT and TalkTalk both offer YouView bundle deals with their broadband, adding extra content and channels to the service.
BT has essentially duplicated its BT Vision service, using the standard Humax YouView box, which is free to broadband subscribers who take a TV pack. It includes an extensive on-demand film and TV library, and will be upgrade in summer 2013 with BT’s new sports channels and Sky Sports, as well as many more live entertainment channels.
TalkTalk TV includes both live TV channels and on-demand films and TV shows, with Sky entertainment channels, Sky Sports and Sky Movies. The TalkTalk YouView box is free to all Plus broadband customers, and is made by Huawei, with a compact footprint and 320GB hard disc.
YouView: What do I need?
A basic broadband connection providing speeds of 3Mbps is required to access the on-demand aspect of YouView. Otherwise, the set-up is essentially the same as Freeview; you plug your YouView box into the TV, plug the aerial in and after tuning you’re done.
If you want to stream HD content from services like BBC iPlayer then you’ll need a faster internet connection. A YouView spokesperson told us that 4-5Mbps should suffice for HD streams.
YouView apps for iOS and Android: Are they in the pipeline?
While there probably won’t be a YouView catch-up apps for phones and tablets, a YouView companion app launched in December 2012 for iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), with an Android version available since June 2013: see our hands-on video review.
Once paired with your YouView box via a simple code over your home network, its offers a programme guide, and remote record via WiFi or 3G with series link support.
- Unofficial YouView remote record workaround for Windows revealed
- TalkTalk TV quietly adds streaming channels like Sky 1 to programme guide
- YouView update improves accessibility for the partially sighted
- BT and TalkTalk to hit YouView guide with more than 130 internet channels
- S4C brings Welsh TV to YouTube, BBC iPlayer, YouView and TV Catch-up
- Television X plucks YouView’s on-demand adult TV cherry
- YouView for Android remote record app: Hands-on video review
- YouView Android app released: Remote Record TV Guide
- YouView to add live streaming channels with Internet Channel update
- YouView confirms Android app release date for mid-June: Hands on pictures
- YouView update brings improved search to BT boxes, TalkTalk TV next in line
- YouView targets Summer 2013 for BT Sport streaming TV channels and app upgrade
- YouView Android app release date: May 2013 ETA
- Humax launches silver version of YouView box
- Half of Brits don’t know what it is
- Humax rolling out Live TV search and Dolby Surround via HDMI update
- YouView Android app incoming, still no ETA
- Remote Record app lands on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
- Humax DTR-1000 pimped for £600 by Russ Andrews
- Surround Sound update heads to Humax boxes, TalkTalk TV to follow
- YouView plans second screen app and faster development for new on-demand players
- STV Player launches for Scots YouView users
- Wake up for Milkshake player on YouView
- Now TV becomes first pay-TV service on YouView
- YouView confirms late July launch date
Humax has taken a cue from Hawkwind and launched a Silver Machine – a sleek metallic version of its original YouView box, called the Humax DTR-T1010.
The DTR-T1010 YouView box boasts the same specs as the original all-black DTR-T1000, but features a gleaming metallic front and black body.
You can pick up a Humax DTR-T1010 now from John Lewis now for £299.99 for the 500GB version and £329.99 for the 1TB edition. Dixons and other high street retailers will sell the DTR-T1010 later on in the month.
In real terms, YouView says that 500GB will let you record 300 hours worth of standard definition (SD) TV and 125 hours of HD TV. The 1TB box should give you double this, 600 hours of standard definition telly and space for 250 hours of HD content.
For those who’d prefer their smart TV devices to be none more black, you can now pick up the original T1000 for £250 in John Lewis among other places.
We have to say though for an extra £50, you get a more angular design which we think will win some people over. A quick look round the back reveals that all of the connections are the same as you’d get with the first YouView box. Though we think this one looks a little better, we’d have preferred it if there was a way to connect to your router via WiFi as well as Ethernet.
To access the on-demand and catch-up features of YouView, you’ll need to connect it to your home broadband router. If it’s not convenient to spool Ethernet cables all around your house due to where you’ve set your router up, you could invest in some Powerline adapters instead.
February 14, 2013
Almost half of British adults don’t know what YouView is, although more than half watch catch-up services on TV.
When it comes to dropping off, almost a third of people watch TV on their mobile phone or tablet whilst going to sleep – rising to half for 18-24 year olds.
Despite its growing popularity, the biggest complaints about watching video online are buffering because of slow broadband (46 per cent), too-frequent or repetitive ad breaks (26 per cent) – 4oD take note! – and poor quality picture and sound compared to TV.
Using a phone, tablet or laptop while you watch TV – second screening – seems to be acceptable, with just one in five saying it was anti-social.
Jerome Rota, senior vice-president of consumer products and services at PacketVideo, said: “Although entertainment on the go is a convenient development, larger screens still provide the best user viewing experience.
“Consuming media on a large screen allows for a better quality of viewing and a more social experience.”
PacketVideo, the makers of phone-to-TV media streaming software Twonky, surveyed 1,000 adults about their knowledge and use of streaming TV and film services.
January 22, 2013
A new major software update for YouView will let you search for live and upcoming programmes and set recordings.
Previously, search on YouView would only let you look back in time and pull up search data from available on-demand content. Now we can look forwards in time too – the ‘On Now & Next’ tab will let us tune in to programmes that are currently being broadcast and set recordings and reminders for upcoming shows over the next seven days.
Another major part of the update includes improved support for HDMI. Support for Dolby Surround over HDMI is now possible, making it easier for those who want to enjoy surround sound in the living room with YouView.
Those who were having problems in getting HD content to display correctly can now, in HDMI Display Settings (under TV Signal & Quality) set an output preference of 720p, 1080i or 1080p.
And finally, all future YouView updates will now come with an on-screen prompt if an automatic update hasn’t taken place, so one way or the other you’ll be able to make sure your YouView box is as up to date as possible.
To check if you have the latest version, press the blue YouView button and head to Settings > System Information > Software Versions.
If you see the following, then you’re all updated:
- Manufacturer Software: 9.5.0
- Component Software: 1.2.6
- Platform configuration: 312
- ISP Configuration: 1
January 9, 2013
YouView is hard at work on making its promised Android app arrive, but despite a tweet today getting people’s hopes up we can confirm via YouView sources that there’s no delivery date just yet.
We understand that the Android app will give you the same functionality as the iOS app – you’ll be able to access programmes from the next seven days and queue up recordings on your YouView box remotely from your phone or tablet, via 3G or WiFi.
As well as this we can expect some more updates to YouView this year, hopefully the one which will see the Sky channels coming to BT YouView, but until we hear anything solid, there’s nothing new to report.
January 4, 2013
YouView has launched its first ‘second screen’ app with Remote Record for the iOS family of Apple devices.
The free YouView app contains a seven-day TV guide with the same programme information you get on a YouView box, and lets you set up recordings over WiFi or 3G.
Richard Halton, CEO of YouView said: “We are really excited about our new YouView App – it gives customers a new way to find the content they love and the flexibility to record programmes on the go.
“This is just the first stage in our companion device strategy, offering even more value to UK consumers, and we plan to extend the functionality of this app as part of our on-going development of the YouView proposition.”
The app works on both the Humax DTR-T1000 and the Huawei TalkTalk YouView boxes, and each box can be registered with up to five mobile devices. An Android version is promised in 2013.
December 12, 2012
Upgrade-ophile tech workshop Russ Andrews is offering to double the cost of a Humax YouView box in return for high grade components.
The Russ Andrews enhanced DTR-1000 carries a 1TB hard disc (unmodified cost: £299), and has upgrades to the power supply, HDMI, Scart, tuner and feet. Their cost? £599.
We’ll put a big tick-mark next to the power supply upgrades, since this is a known failure point on digital TV boxes.
Russ Andrews provides a three-pin IEC socket for a separate earthed power cable, high quality capacitors, and Russ Andrews’s own Silencer and Clarity mains filters.
Scart improvements might enhance picture stability if you’re archiving to DVD or Blu-ray, but we’re dubious that you’ll see any real benefit from altering the HDMI since it’s a digital pass-through, or replacing the aerial input sockets on the Freeview tuner module.
As for adding Big Cone Feet – they might help the audio response of a speaker, but it sounds cosmetic on a digital TV box.
The whole package comes in the original Humax packaging, with a two-year guarantee (one year for the hard disc), plus Russ Andrews’s 14 Day Equipment Home Trial and a no-quibble money back guarantee.
We’re hoping for a sample to test our standard Humax DTR-1000 against the Russ Andrews model. Watch this space.
November 21, 2012
YouView has announced that an update is available and is rolling out now to the Humax DTR-T1000.
The update will bring support for surround sound plus a boatload of small but very welcome tweaks to the service.
Our favourites include little things like the ability to skip forwards 60 seconds or backwards 15 seconds through recordings, hide BBC Red Button pop ups by pressing the green button and a padlock symbol in MyView, which identifying the recorded programmes you want to be safeguarded from automatic deletion.
Recordings of programmes from the same show are now grouped together in the MyView section, so if you’ve recorded the final season of The Thick of It you’ll now be able to munch through Malcolm Tucker’s last roll of the political dice more easily.
Elsehwere the start up time of the Humax box from stand by has been boosted and you’ve got the option to fiddle with auto-standby times as well.
There’s good news for TalkTalk TV customers as well. These very same updates will be rolling out to the Huawei-made TalkTalk box over the coming weeks.
To get the update, you’ll need to have kept your Humax box powered on and connected to the internet – the phased rollout is live now your DTR-T1000 should update automatically.
The rollout process will take two weeks. If by that time you’ve not got i you can perform a manual update by going to Settings > Device Management > Software Update > Get Update, and pressing OK.
You should see the above screen in the System Information menu if the update has been successful.
The full list of changes the update will bring are featured below:
- Faster start-up time when your box is in Standby and when switched off for an extended period (e.g. overnight)
- The option to change the Auto-Standby setting to 12 Hours, with a choice of 2, 3, 4 and 12 Hours available
- Recordings grouped by series in MyView to make it easier to find what you are looking for
- A new padlock symbol to help identify which of your recordings are locked to prevent automatic deletion
- A reduced number of button presses to open MyView from the main menu
- Surround sound capability on the YouView box (when connecting with S/PDIF)
- Skip functionality to allow you to skip forwards 60 seconds or backwards 15 seconds while watching your recordings or live TV (if you’ve paused/rewound)
- The ability to select a start point when playing a recording
- Red Button prompts on BBC channels can now be hidden using the green button on your remote control
- The ability to hide and restore channels in the YouView Guide
- A message to remind you that if you’ve pressed the TV button on your Humax remote control, you will need to press the PVR button to continue using YouView.
- EPG: duration shown of highlighted programme in the guide
- EPG: minor adjustment to layout of programme name within its table cell
- Better font and highlight contrast in guide etc
- Recordings list: one button press to delete recordings
- Recordings list: one button press to resume of playback of recordings
October 31, 2012
A second screen app and a more relaxed approach for on-demand players are on YouView’s timetable to develop the service, chief executive Richard Halton has announced.
Speaking at the IBC 2012 conference, Halton said a companion app for mobile phones and tablets is scheduled for this Autumn, which is likely to offer remote control functions over WiFi home networks.
“The second screen delivers a set of different objectives which we will set this autumn. Most second screen apps are a bit ahead of where the mainstream is so I’m aware of not going too far fast,” he added.
YouView will also open up its source code to broadcasters so they can ‘have some fun’ with the look and feel of new on-demand players, although this is unlikely to happen until 2013.
September 10, 2012
ITV’s north-of-the-border counterpart STV has launched its own catch-up TV player on YouView, completing the basic on demand TV line-up with the likes of Emmerdale, Coronation Street and X Factor.
STV Player is only available to YouView users in Scotland, sitting in the vacant spot used for ITV Player in England and Wales.
August 30, 2012
Milkshake, Channel 5’s early morning kid’s show, has arrived on YouView in the form of an on-demand app.
Accessed through the on-demand section of YouView’s menu, Milkshake will provide instant on-demand access to children’s favourites including Mr Men, Roary the Racing Car, Fifi and the Flowertots and Little Princess.
Aimed at two to seven-year-olds, the Milkshake! app is free to use, so parents need not worry about a huge bill arriving after the umpteenth view of that same Thomas The Tank Engine episode. Milkshake! is one of the few children’s on-demand platforms which
Those with YouView boxes should have the Milkshake! app now via an automatic update. Keep checking back in the on-demand section of your YouView box.
August 28, 2012
Sky’s Now TV on-demand film service has been added to YouView, offering a selection of films from Sky Movies, both pay-per-view rentals and with a £15/month Sky Movies Pass.
Now TV will be expanded by the end of this year with live streaming of Sky Sports events such as the Barclays Premier League and UEFA Champions League, with shows from Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Arts and Sky Living to follow soon after.
August 10, 2012
YouView will launch at the end of this month, with the first box made by Humax costing £299.
The next generation of subscription-free digital terrestrial TV was announced this morning by Lord Sugar and YouView CEO Richard Halton at the London Film Museum.
Lord Sugar hailed the launch as “a great moment in British television” and said that YouView would replace Freeview in the living room for non-subscription customers. “You’ll only want one box in your living room and that’s this box.”
July 4, 2012