YouView Lets You Watch and Record Both Freeview and Online TV Shows

What is Youview?

YouView is a set-top box made by Humax that enables you to watch and record from digital Freeview channels and online catch-up services like BBC iPlayer, 5 Demand and others. So you can enjoy the advantage of accessing live and on-demand content at the same place. The YouView box has an easy to use Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) that can be scrolled back for up to a week, to enable you to view or record the shows of your choice. The basic YouView box made by Humax costs £299 and comes with a 500GB hard drive and twin tuners (you can watch one show and record another simultaneously). For £329, you get a box with a 1TB HDD. YouView is backed by marquee television brands like TalkTalk, BT, ITV, Channel 4 and BBC.

How it Works

The interface is similar to standard Freeview to make the average viewer feel at home. The programme guide combines broadcast and streamed TV shows. You can record shows for later viewing and this advanced system lets you watch catch-up TV without having to wade through the apps of various broadcasters. The following platforms are currently available:

BBC iPlayer

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Sky Now TV

STV (Scotland only)

5 Demand

4OD

ITV Player

Highlights of YouView

YouView is a good bargain for those who have to give up pay TV due to budget problems. Recent software updates have upgraded the product, ironed out shortcomings and added useful functionalities. The platform has become infinitely scalable which means you are bound to get better and more varied content in the future as more content providers hop on the bandwagon. YouView also offers digital radio. Perhaps the main benefit is YouView is free, unlike rival services such as Now TV, which require a monthly payment. Another highlight is the easily accessible search function, which helps you look for missed shows with the aid of predictive text.

Minimum Requirements

YouView is low maintenance and you are not required to install a dish. Just plug the box into an aerial, and to access the Internet, connect it to your broadband router. The minimum broadband speed required is 3Mbps. For watching HD streams, the broadband speed should be ramped up to 4-5 Mbps. But there is no facility to use internal Wi-Fi or dongle, or Bluetooth. The box does have a USB port but you cannot use it to view other content like films, photos etc; apparently it is for the use of engineers if the box needs fixing.

Areas for Improvement

YouView services can definitely be boosted by adding providers like Lovefilm and Netflix, the possibility of which is at present is restricted to just chatter. Dedicated TV sports channels like Sky Sports and ESPN are also missing. So, there is not much more you can get than what is offered in the current Freeview platform.

What is Humax?

Korea- based Humax is a leading manufacturer and exporter of consumer electronics items like digital video recorders and set-top boxes. Its R&D headquarters are in Korea and it exports products to greater than 90 countries. In the UK, Humax has participated in the digital switchover trials of 2006, Premiere's HD launch, Freesat digital TV service and the introduction of the Freeview HD service.

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