Youview Predictions

[Comment on Hacker News]

They have spent $100Million (£70M) on this platform and while it is probably better than Google TV but its not going to have a major market impact (even in the UK) as a whole but it might have some nice features worth borrowing.

The main thing preventing it having an impact is that is essentially the wrong product. The market for >£200 digital boxes is just too small and completely dwarfed by the TV market. Samsung, LG, Sony and Panasonic will each sell many more TVs each year than the total size of the >£200 PVR market and even if only 30% connect to their Internet platforms they will all still be bigger platforms and more attractive to content than Youview (despite its greater flexibility).

The other problem is that Youview is two and half years late (originally named Project Canvas and planned for November 2009) and it has missed virtually the entire country completing the Digital Switchover (analogue switch off), 3 Christmas sales peaks, 1 World Cup (soccer) sales peak, 1 Euro Cup (soccer) sales peak and now will be going on sale at the exact time the Olmypics starts without the retailers having time to get ready. Also gadget spend is increasingly moving to tablets rather than TV boxes at the moment.

I also have very serious doubts about UK retailers ability to sell this. Most can't get TV aerial signals OR even Internet connections into the TV areas of their stores. Most PVR type products sit on shelves not connected to TVs and can't be demonstrated.

It has two chances of any traction: BT and Talk Talk, (significant Telcos) will use it for their TV platforms. Talk Talk hasn't even entered the market yet and BT has been trying for years almost giving away boxes with phone service but has little over half a million subs(may be slightly old figure) compared with 10M using Freeview (OTA), 10M using Sky (pay satellite) and 5M using Virgin (cable). If they make a competent go at the market and heavily subsidise it the total Youview platform could conceivably reach 1M.

The other chance it has is if a profile can be developed suitable for TVs (without HDD) and a major player in the TV market can be persuaded to include across their range they could really ramp up the numbers.