10 things to know about YouView's big new features

Coming soon: Android app and streaming channels

10 things to know about YouView s big new features

YouView is Britain's fastest growing TV service and backed by major ISPs like BT and TalkTalk as well as all the big terrestrial broadcasters.

The service has found itself under a barrage of criticism from all quarters following a ridiculously bloated development time and launching a "carcass of a service" with huge chunks of functionality MIA.

But, the coming months will see the service become more rounded, more competitive and, finally, a genuine option for those seeking a decent TV service.

Here's 10 things you should know about YouView's big new features...

1. Live internet channels are coming

Back when we talked to BT last year the YouView partner made it pretty clear that, without streaming channels, it wasn't even prepared to consider the IPTV service as a proper contender to its ageing Vision box.

So it's clear that the killer app for the service is going to be the arrival of streaming internet channels, potentially opening up the YouView service as a proper contender to the likes of Sky, Virgin Media and, of course, Freeview and Freesat.

Streaming channels over an internet connection means a whole raft of exciting content could be on the way, as well as HD channels like BT Sport and its high profile Premier League football.

2. Only BT and TalkTalk will get them this summer

While we are talking BT Sport we should point out that the summer time frame is all about getting the BT Sport channel onto its flagship TV service. BT splurged alarming amounts of cash to prise football away from the likes of Sky and it needs to make that money back.

BT Sport coming for the 2013 14 season
BT Sport - coming for the 2013-14 season

The downside is that the service's arrival means that it doesn't yet bring the ideal functionality (see 4 and 5 below) and, crucially, the streaming channels will only be available to the ISP boxes from BT and TalkTalk, with retail boxes (ie the ones that aren't bundled) not getting the feature at all until later on.

This is a fairly large blow for many early adopters and fans of the service who chose to get their own box rather than rely on a bundled service.

3. They'll seamlessly integrate with current YouView channels

On the bright side, if you do have BT or TalkTalk YouView services then our look at the new streaming channels showed a genuinely impressive looking service. The streaming internet channels are searchable, accessed with the same UI and therefore integrate beautifully with the current UI. The connected channels are identified by three subtle blue dots which, we're told, will go grey if there is a problem with your connection.

4. You can't record from internet channels yet

The new channels, when they arrive, will not allow you to record shows. YouView insists that it is working hard on getting the feature ready but that it felt it was important to get the channels out as soon as possible rather than hold them up further. Of course, that's really because BT are piling on the pressure, but we'd prefer a build and iterate approach to holding off entirely.

5. You can't pause or rewind live TV either

Also missing on the streaming channels will be the live TV pause and rewind functionality that has become such a familiar site on our TV services. Again, we're told this will arrive later in the year.

You have to fast forward a few months for live pause

6. An Android app is incoming

Another big arrival for YouView is the Android version of its recording app. Apple's iOS already has a YouView app, and it will finally be make its way to Google-powered devices in the next fortnight or so.

We're also told that YouView will work hard to keep parity with both Android and iOS going forward, narrowing the gap in the short term and then trying to keep both platforms' users happy.

Android version of YouView s record app
Android version of YouView's record app

7. A version without a PVR is on the way

We already new a non-PVR version was on the way, and YouView has confirmed that a TalkTalk box is on course for Autumn this year

8. YouView is in talks with major players

The two elephants in the room when SVOD was brought up were Netflix and Lovefilm and although neither was mentioned, there was confirmation that talks were ongoing with "major subscription video on demand suppliers".

Lovefilm coming soon
Lovefilm - coming soon?

9. The streaming internet channels will include HD

For those of you that are worried that watching internet channels in SD simply doesn't cut the mustard, fear not. Some of the key channels will be offering up HD - including BT Sport.

So you'll still be perfectly able to see that fan gesticulating at Wayne Rooney from row C.

10. YouView is still growing fast

The briefing opened with the news that YouView is now in 400,000 UK homes, with ambition to reach many millions. The fact that YouView has come through its troubled beginning and starting to show signs of becoming the exciting service hinted at by the first Project Canvas announcement is positive for the whole UK TV industry.

YouView doing well
YouView - doing well