YouView's non-executive chairman Alan Sugar has claimed that the new service will not be aiming to steal users away from pay-TV rivals Sky and Virgin Media, but to take on Freeview in the home. At least when it comes to set-top-boxes.
Speaking at the launch of the service and the Humax DTR-T1000, the first YouView box to hit the shops later in July, Lord Sugar understands that many TV viewers only want one set-top-box in their living rooms, but claims that the current Freeview ones aren't doing a good enough job.
"There seems to be a misunderstanding here, on why people would want another box in their home. If they don’t want another box in their home, they need this box," he said.
"It’s an absolutely waste in my opinion, the Freeview box. It’s my ambition to replace the current Freeview boxes. You only need this now in your home."
Lord Sugar also said it was no use trying to convert satellite and cable subscribers as there were plenty of Freeview set-top-box owners to poach.
"We know that satellite broadcasters and cable broadcasters have a total of 11 or 12 million viewers, my audience is the other 15 million. The Freeview audience. The people who don’t want to be tied to a subscription," he said.
The enigmatic figurehead for YouView and presenter of The Apprentice also used the launch event to put forward his argument as to why the company is initially releasing a premium product, at the premium price of £299, when the YouView specifications would have allowed for a cheaper proposition.
"When you develop a new system, you start with the highest technology first of all, and then you go downwards," he told us.
"I think what we’ve got here is the template, the carcass of this great new television experience.
"When we start adding new features, such as IP channels, we’ll have to see how the stripped down version of the box, the architecture, can handle all these new features that are coming along. Not to get too technical, but the PVR is doing a little bit more work in the box than just recording programmes.
"You start at the top end and then you can always come down, rather than starting at the bottom end and going up," he added.
What do you think? Is £299 too much to pay for a new set-top-box? Let us know in the comments below...
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