Is 2012 too late for YouView and Google TV?

Is 2012 too late for YouView and Google TV?
YouView - 2012 will be a crowded place

When YouView – then known as Canvas – was originally unveiled it was difficult not to be excited about the project involving key British broadcasters that promised to make catch-up TV accessible to the mainstream.

With the BBC's iPlayer going great guns, it was clear that television on demand and through an internet connection was likely to be a UK hit, and the BBC's involvement would help unify major players behind a single banner.

And had it arrived in 2010, as was first suggested, I think it might well have been a massive smash.

But when it finally arrives in 2012 it will face a very different market and the chances of it being a success are waning fast.

Plus points

There are some major plus points, of course: the presence of Britain's major terrestrial broadcasters along with BT, TalkTalk and Arqiva means that the pool of content will be vast and include Britain's most-watched television shows.

And a unified set of minimum standards for a box will no doubt lure some canny operators (like the always impressive Humax) into making some decent set top boxes.

BBC iplayer - on many platforms, including ps3

But the competition is now so hot that broadcasters will have to think carefully about whether they will offer their content exclusively on the platform.

This is not just about Google TV – which, to be honest, has yet to set the US alight since launching there – this is about content providers maximising profit through advertising or selling content, or maximising exposure as the BBC behemoth has a duty to do.

Connected world

Major manufacturers are now all producing connected television products, with the likes of Samsung's Smart TV offering and Sony's Qriocity already flourishing.

Throw in the increasingly powerful role that gaming consoles offer in television on demand and you have an IPTV-tastic market that is already flourishing.

And that's before you factor in Sky, which is buying up prime television content for channels like Sky Living and Sky Atlantic (on top of its traditional sport and movie content), and Virgin Media, which is also keen on the best content for VOD.

Factor those big players in and you have a market that already looks fairly crowded.

Google TV and, more importantly, its cash-rich buying power and YouView will arrive into that increasingly mature market in 2012 and provide yet more options.

Freeview has been a massive hit for a UK audience reticent to pay a subscription. But if every new television and games console, along with the nation's primary satellite and cable offerings, already have the majority of the prime content, will YouView offer enough to become a success when it eventually launches?

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.