Humax: Never say never to Google TV

The Humax Portal is set to launch soon, but there's a chance the company will also get in on the Google TV action
The Humax Portal is set to launch soon, but there's a chance the company will also get in on the Google TV action

With a reputation for high-quality set-top boxes and digital TV recorders in the UK, Humax is moving into the connected-TV space in 2011 with the launch of its Humax Portal and a YouView device.

When asked if Humax was interested in partnering with Google on a Google TV product for the UK, Graham North, Commercial Director of Humax UK, responded coyly, "Never say never."

He continued, "If the market opportunity was right, we'd be interested. But for the UK market, our feeling at the moment is that other propositions are stronger – services like YouView and our internet-connected Portal. But if the market desired Google TV, then we'd look into it."

The much-delayed Humax Portal promises to bring web services like iPlayer and YouTube to Humax Freeview HD set-top boxes, and is on track to launch at the end of January.

We all view together

Meanwhile YouView development continues but North doesn't anticipate the service launching until at least the middle of the year.

He said, "I believe YouView have an update statement coming soon, but the key selling season for us will be the second half."

Users will require a good Freeview signal in order to watch live TV and a broadband connection to view YouView's on-demand services, however North told us that there's likely to be both a Freesat and IP version in the future too.

Although other platforms have criticised the new service, North says it's going to be the strongest web-connected TV product when it hits the market: "YouView has the backing to succeed and there are more key content providers in discussion; it's going to be content that drives consumers to buy."

Meanwhile, Freeview HD battles Freesat

It has been almost three years since Freesat launched in the UK and demand is still high, according to Humax, with the company struggling to keep supply up to meet continuing public desire for Freesat HD DVRs and standard receivers.

The news comes despite the launch of Freeview HD in 2010, which all but obliterates Freesat's USP of HD television content without the need for a contract deal.

While Freesat devices have been selling great guns, Freeview HD sales have been disappointing.

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