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YouView One Year On: A retrospective

Today marks YouView’s first birthday. It seems like only yesterday when we made our way down to London’s Southbank to see Lord Sugar usher in the long-awaited digital TV platform. 

The YouView platform, which blends live digital terrestrial TV with catch-up content accessed via a broadband connection, has gone on to light up more than 400,000 UK homes.

Now, one year on, we’re going to take a quick look over what YouView has achieved since it launched. 

Happy Birthday to YouView: The digital TV platform is one year old today



July 4: The Big Launch Day. Recombu Digital went along with our camera crew in tow so we could provide one of the UK’s first look reviews of YouView and the Humax DTR-T1000 set-top box.

We liked what we saw; a slick, nicely designed piece of hardware with an easy to navigate programme guide. 

The Humax DTR-T1000 wouldn’t hit the shelves until later in the month and this was all we got to see of it for a while.

July 26: The first Humax YouView boxes go on sale. John Lewis sell the 500GB edition of the DTR-T1000 for £299. A one-off fee for a smart, subscription free digital TV service that would eventually take a price cut.

YouView retrospective: One Year On

August 7: Now TV, Sky’s new on-demand movies service arrives on YouView. This is exciting stuff indeed as it basically means that YouView owners can get the same films on-demand as Sky Movies customers can get without the need to have a Sky TV subscription. At £15/month though, it doesn’t compare that well to the likes of Netflix and Lovefilm Instant in terms of price.

August 28: Milkshake! the Channel 5 children’s show gets its own on-demand app in YouView. Parents of sprogs with a serious Peppa Pig addiction can now rest easy.

August 29: STV, Scotland’s ITV franchise, gets its own slot in the YouView on-demand library. 

September 22: YouView ads start appearing on TV for the first time. 

September 27: TalkTalk TV, TalkTalk’s YouView-based digital TV offering launches. The new service is bundled with the TalkTalk Plus broadband package and sees customers not having to fork out £299 for a Huawei-made box. As well as this, TalkTalk TV gives customers the option to add selected Sky TV channels including Sky Sports, for an extra monthly fee.

None of this of course really justifies the frankly odd launch event spectacle of Joanna Lumley hitting Basil Fawlty’s car with a rubber tree branch.

December 12: The YouView app for iOS launches. Those with an iPhone or iPad to hand can now schedule recordings on their YouView box remotely. It’ll be awhile before an Android version manifests but this gives us a taste of things to come. YouView promises future updates that’ll give us greater control of our YouView devices from afar. 


January 9: YouView updates its search function, allowing live TV programmes to be included in the search results. Previously, you’d only be able to search through programmes available in the on-demand library. The ‘On Now & Next’ section means you can set recordings and reminders for the next seven days.

Around this time, BT begins to advertise its YouView service, which it says will be given a higher profile launch when BT Sport launches in August 2013.

February 14: Humax launches the DTR-T1010, a silvery YouView box that adds an element of retro styling to the mix. Otherwise, the specs of this new box are exactly the same as the original DTR-T1000.

March 1: Lord Sugar steps down as Chairman of YouView and hands the reins over to Sir Charles Dunstone of Carphone Warehouse fame. Rumours of an office bust up between Sugar and Richard Desmond, during which the latter was reported to have shouted ‘You’re fired!’, reach the press…

March 29: At TV Connect 2013 in London, we get the first real clue as to when the Android YouView app will arrive. TalkTalk TV’s Laurence Mial-d’Août mentions a May 2013 ETA. Those champing at the bit for this app should remember what the ‘E’ in ETA stands for.

April 23: The latest update to YouView refines the search function yet again. YouViewers can now search by category such as sports, kids, movies and so forth. A Google Instant-style search-as-you-type feature is added as well. 

With this update, parents also have the ability to hide and lock access to specific channels in the programme guide. Which is just as well, given what will arrive on YouView in June.

YouView retrospective: One Year On
May 30: YouView announces that it has over 400,000 viewers in the UK, with TalkTalk TV customers making up half that number.

The YouView app for Android still isn’t out on Google Play. But the app is pretty much ready. We’re given the opportunity to see it up close and personal and are told that its release is imminent, with just a few tweaks to be ironed out.

On the same day, YouView reveals that its working on bringing a ‘possibly infinite’ number of live channels delivered over the internet. Initially, only BT and TalkTalk TV boxes 

June 25: The YouView app for Android is finally released and unleashed on Google Play. We download the app straight away and put together this quick video.

UKTV, makers of Dave, Really and Yesterday, announce that on-demand content from these channels will soon be available on YouView.

June 28: Television X, the late night adult channel, launches an on-demand 18-rated app that can be accessed 24 hours a day. Luckily for concerned parents, YouView rolled out an update back in April that will allow access to Television X to be shielded by a PIN number. The TVXflix player will only show up in YouView On Demand if you actively look for it as well, minimising the chance that younger eyes might accidentally clock it in the on-demand menu. 

July 1: YouView publishes data from TV Census 2013 showing that catch-up TV now accounts for one fifth of British TV viewing.

July 4: YouView celebrates its first birthday and Recombu Digital publishes its momentous one-year retrospective.


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