YouView boxes: first details announced

YouView - what will the box bring?
YouView - what will the box bring?

The first details have emerged of what we can expect from our YouView devices, with a detailed technical specification revealing what the BBC-backed service will bring.

As well as announcing four key new hardware partners – Pace, Vestel, Manhattan and Huawei – the IPTV collaboration unveiled its final core technical specification.

YouView will see Britain's major terrestrial broadcasters collaborate on what is being termed the next generation of Freeview, bringing connected television services through a broadband connection.

"We're delighted to confirm the final launch specification for YouView to help any manufacturer develop a connected TV device," said Richard Halton, CEO, YouView.

"Through promoting common technical standards for connected TV, consumers will get the widest possible range of devices supporting high quality content."

The minimum requirements

The specs reveal that YouView boxes have a minimum CPU requirement of 950 DMIPS+ and will need to carry a minimum of a half gig of RAM with a DDR bandwidth of 3Gbps.

The devices will need a hard disk size of at least 320 GB and a minimum of two USB connections as well as an Ethernet port and integrated 802.11n WiFi support (or via a dongle).

There will be at least one HDMI, two DVBT/T2 tuners and a SCART, but Analogue HD outputs have been 'excluded as part of rights strategy management' – essentially fears over piracy.

Interestingly, the box WILL support external USB mass storage devices with 'no requirement to export content' and human interface devices (but mainly for accessibility applications).

There will not be a requirement for 3D graphics – although OpenGL and Open VG may allow for higher performance rendering and a graphics plane of 1280x720 is required.

The boxes will run Linux (2.6.31 or later preferred) but manufactures have been told that they can design their own remote controls – as long as they abide by accessibility requirements and some other common sense inclusions.

The full spec document is available on the YouView website in PDF form.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.