back to article Freesat eyes YouView USP for next-gen UI

Free-to-air satellite broadcasting platform Freesat is to YouView-ise its set-top boxes, based around a new UI that will debut in next-generation kit later this month. Like YouView, Freesat's new UI mixes upcoming programming and catch-up content into a single electronic programme guide (EPG). Alas, recordings - full DVR …

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I like the 'my recordings' UI

Is there something like that from one of the DTT box makers? My Humax, getting a bit long in the tooth, just strings a long list of each and everything... with eighty or ninety recordings, it gets a bit tedious trying to see if you're watching the one you think you are.

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MJI
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Re: I like the 'my recordings' UI

How did you get that many on it?

I think after 50 it gets rather full and that is BBC 1 hour shows, stick on longer stuff and even less can be stored.

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Is YouView inherently Freeview only then, not Freesat?

Certainly the only box was when I looked, but then there is very litle info on FreeSat on their website, I wondered whether it was dying a death.

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Re: Is YouView inherently Freeview only then, not Freesat?

YouView is neither. It's delivered over the internet.

Freeview is the trading name of the digital terrestrial television service in the UK, with broadcasts delivered via transmitters.

Freesat is the trading name of one of the digital satellite television services in the UK, with broadcasts delivered via satellite.

YouView is the trading name of one of the IPTV television services in the UK, with broadcasts delivered via the internet.

Each service has their own list of channels, most of which are available on more than one of these services.

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Re: Is YouView inherently Freeview only then, not Freesat?

What I meant was, are YouView boxes being only sold with DTT (Freeview, if you like) decoders as oppposed to with Digital Satelite (Freesat, if you like) decoders?

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Go

Re: Is YouView inherently Freeview only then, not Freesat?

Ah right,

YouView boxes currently contain DVB-T/T2 decoders so they can decode digital terrestrial television broadcasts (https://industry.youview.com/resources/YouView_Core_Technical_Specification_1.0.pdf).

Apparently (although might have to take this with a pinch of salt) eventually there'll be boxes that will come with DVB-S tuners, so being able to decode digital satellite television broadcasts.

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slowly

Slowly the STB are catching up with the features available in XP MCE.

Just think what Media centre would be like now if Microsoft had done any development on it.

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Nice looking UI but very poor on using the available screen space, lots of blank space and very little information shown. Worse than the new Sky HD UI which doesn't allow the planner to show more information when the mini-tv is turned off.

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Wot? Not 4oD or Demand 5 on launch?

One to keep an eye on for the Christmas after next then.

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Price?

All they need to do now is turn them out for a reasonable price.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Price?

Amazing what people's price expectations are for kit these days and they then complain when it only lasts a year. Humax stuff is reasonably well made in my experience, that costs money.

£279, interestingly, is exactly what I paid for a bottom-of-the-range Akai VHS recorder in 1994. A quick run through the inflation calculator tells me that is the equivalent of £450 in 2010 and probably close to £500 now.

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Re: Price?

An AppleTV costs £99, and Apple don't don't have a reputation for being cheap. I am aware that you can't watch broadcast TV on it, and you can't do much more than watch stuff you have bought off iTunes, but nevertheless, Apple do tend to set the price ceiling in the markets they operate in.

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Re: Price?

In a walled garden of content? Are you nuts? Apple TV is for iTunes devotees only. It has no selling point to anyone else. If you stop buying content from Apple, then Apple TV is useless. A bit different form YouView...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Price?

@Afflicted.John

Errrr, Apple TV is *not* just for iTunes devotees - it's perfectly possible to use it without ever having purchased anything via iTunes.

You can very easily import your own content (both video & audio) into iTunes (the software) to stream it to the Apple TV.

If, like me, you've already got a head-less lappy (the screen broke) as a simple windows NAS for home use, then installing iTunes to just sit there and stream stuff is no-brainer.

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Re: Price?

And will the average person (i.e. your mum) be bothered to do all that just to watch content? Not likely.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Price?

Apples and Oranges.

A Freesat HD box, with a decent amount of local storage, and access to the main IPTV service people actually use (iPlayer) that will have access to the other broadcasters services in time (Humax's freeview boxes already do).

vs

A device that can only stream content from a networked computer or the iTunes store that has no capabilities for broadcast TV.

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Re: Price?

"£279, interestingly, is exactly what I paid for a bottom-of-the-range Akai VHS recorder in 1994. A quick run through the inflation calculator tells me that is the equivalent of £450 in 2010 and probably close to £500 now."

What, so my next phone should cost me £2400 like a 1993 Motorola? Not really getting your point.

You can pick up a Freeview HD box from about £20 (crappy names like Bush, Alba etc.) or pay a bit more and get a 'better' brand.

Freeview HD+ has a similar choice, with 500GB boxes being available for about £100 and the Humax etc. coming in at over £200.

You want the same in Freesat? Well, that's gonna cost upwards of £80 for a plain box and from about £180 for a PVR.

The gubbins can't be that dissimilar, so I'm presuming lack of supply/demand is keeping prices high as only Humax and a few others seem keen to support.

Shame.

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Meh

Re: Price?

I remember paying over 500 quid for a Mitsubishi VCR around 1990. ouch.

mind you I remember paying 50p / litre of petrol in the early to mid 90s.

So now I can watch TV nice and cheap but can't afford to drive anywhere.

I need to get out more.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Price?

Add a 500GB HDD and two second generation satellite tuners to the price of an Apple TV, at Apple mark-up and see how far you get.

The Apple TV is actually sold with very modest mark-up compared to other Apple products because it has always been seen as something of a hobby for them, to quote the messiah: "I'm sure smarter people than us will figure this out, but that's why we say Apple TV's a hobby; that's why we use that phrase."

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Anonymous Coward

TVs

Aside from Humax, many manufacturers have abandoned Freesat set top box manufacture (particularly Panasonic, who include it in their TVs but no longer sell an STB).

What is the liklihood of the TV's built in Freesat GUI being upgraded by the manufacturers ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: TVs

Suspect Panasonic didn't sell many of their sole Set Top Box offering - didn't it have a built in blu ray recorder and cost about £700? Very expensive, with a feature set that there was evidently no demand for (no-one else's research led them to launch a competitor).

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2.6M Freesat devices - probably a little less than 1M in use

Freesat devices are probably largely the mid/high end Panasonic TVs all of which came with Freesat for a couple of years so many will realistically be connected to a Freevie aerial or Sky/Virgin boxes.

From memory basic numbers for UK main TVs:

Sky 10M

Freeview 10M

Virgin 3.5M

Other sat inc Freesat 1M

BT/Telco IPTV 0.8M

Youview seems to be exactly as invisible a retail presence as I predicted. One box on a shelf in a back corner of a large Currys/PC World with a small label, no branding, no demo. It was amongst about 15 other STBs and PVRs including a cheaper Humax next to it with twice the disk capacity.

I can understand why Freesat haven't gone for Youview. This solution isn't going to shake the market in any significant way but Freesat will continue ticking away at a modest level.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 2.6M Freesat devices - probably a little less than 1M in use

"Youview seems to be exactly as invisible a retail presence as I predicted."

Alan Sugar keeps tweeting about it. Yea, you are right, it's gone nowhere...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 2.6M Freesat devices - probably a little less than 1M in use

The Ofcom market report for 2012 shows about 2 million people using Freesat?

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Boffin

Re: 2.6M Freesat devices - probably a little less than 1M in use

@anonymous

Firstly thanks, I had looked a couple of times for the latest Ofcom Digital TV data but not found it as I hadn't looked in the overall Communication Report.

Looking in the cvs data the Ofcom estimate for free satellite households is 1.823 M. Note that this includes not only Freesat but also Free Satellite from Sky and all other free satellite services (unbranded boxes possibly without proper EPGs). There may be a proportion of these in use for non-English language services (Hindi, Arabic, Polish, German etc.)

Given that at the time of Freesat's launch (Q2 2008) the Free satellite category had 0.84 million households it is a reasonable assumption that Freesat may have less than 1 million households currently and certainly it has nothing like 2 million.

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