YouView has announced on Wednesday that its TV set-top box will be available to buy from the end of July, bringing BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 on-demand content to UK homes, without the need for an ongoing subscription.

The YouView project has been a long time coming, and eagerly anticipated, as UK TV owners have searched for a single-device method of bringing catch-up TV to their sets without the need for a subscription box from the likes of Sky or Virgin Media, or using a connected PC.

The YouView set-top box will provide this access, meaning you can simply hook it up to your TV, an aerial, connect it to your home broadband and get access to all your favourite terrestrial programming.

"It’s with great pleasure that we announce that YouView will be available from major retailers later this month," said Lord Sugar, chairman of YouView.

"Our intention with this simple–to-use box is to provide extraordinary TV for everyone, with on-demand services combined with TV channels with an opportunity to search back an entire week to catch what they’ve missed. It’s a whole new way of experiencing TV." 

The YouView box will feature an EPG to let you navigate through content, as well as offering pause and rewind services on live TV from the on-board tuner. You'll get access to HD content with more than 100 TV and radio channels on offer. 

YouView will be available to buy from major retailers, with John Lewis, Amazon, Argos and others on the list. You'll also be able to get YouView as part of an ISP package, rolled in with your normal calls and broadband services.

The platform is designed to be expandable, with access to additional content promised in the future, and the likes of BT and TalkTalk offering exclusive content to those accessing the service on their networks.

TalkTalk has confirmed that it will be outlining its strategy for YouView on 26 July, which is when we'd expect to get details of its YouView packages and any extra content.

The box, however, will cost you £299 to buy, so it's a fairly hefty investment from the off. The first box to hit the market will be coming from Humax, which makes perfect sense as the company has plenty of experience in Freeview HD PVRs, of which this is essentially an evolution.The set-top boxes provided by TalkTalk and BT will be rebranded Humax hardware.