You might want to take a seat for this: YouView is about to leave the realms of the imaginary and enter the actual as public trials begin this week.

The long-awaited internet-based TV service is set to hit 350 UK homes, each of which will receive a web-connected set top box.

These lucky 350 will be able to watch catch-up services like iPlayer via the box, as well as a few subscription apps including Lovefilm. Well, that's assuming it actually works.

YouHoo

A YouView spokesperson told the Financial Times that if this initial trial is a success, a wider test could be on its way within four weeks, involving thousands of homes. As plenty have noted, this means YouView will be unlikely to get a proper launch until after the Olympics.

Not much more has been revealed about the boxes, other than that they will cost around £200 once they finally hit the UK's shop shelves.

YouView started life as Project Canvas and was intended to launch in 2010. Problem after problem led to delay after delay, prompting fears that the project would be abandoned altogether.

But now that Alan Sugar has taken hold of the reins, things do seem to be zipping along a little bit more quickly (although that didn't stop him putting the breaks on when he wasn't happy with the interface earlier this month).

From the Financial Times via The Telegraph