End Of An Era: YouView Announces A Major Pivot

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A major shakeup in the UK television industry is upon us again: YouView, a mainstay of the broadcasting landscape, is making a strategic pivot.

YouView, the television platform backed by major UK telecommunications companies and broadcasters, recently announced that it would be closing its community forum and putting more effort into supporting its platform partners.

This move is a departure from YouView’s original approach which focused on selling directly to consumers. Now, they’re changing gears to focus more on supporting their partners – BT, TalkTalk, and Sony.

YouView new interface apps
YouView

Established in 2010 and launched in 2012, YouView offers a “hybrid” television service that combines Freeview channels and radio stations with popular UK catch-up apps like BBC iPlayer, ITVX (on some devices), NOW, and more.

YouView can be accessed either via a standalone set-top box or through boxes provided by BT TV and TalkTalk, which use YouView as their interface for paying subscribers.

BT TV’s flagship box, for example – the 4K TV Box Pro – is based on YouView.

BT TV Lifestyle
YouView on BT TV

In a recent post on the YouView community forum, the company unveiled that its forum will be closed for new posts from June 23 2023 and completely shut down from July 1.

While the forum’s closure may be a disappointment to some, the company is steering its users towards the community forums of BT and TalkTalk for support queries.

The YouView hardware support site will remain available for self-service help, particularly for users of Humax’s retail boxes and Sony TV devices with YouView​.

Humax YouView DTR-T2000
Humax YouView DTR-T2000

“YouView’s position in the Set Top Box market”, the official announcement says, “has moved away from our original retail proposition and more towards building new devices for our partners BT, TalkTalk and Sony.

“Our existing support is often duplicated elsewhere as a significant majority of our user base have devices from BT or TalkTalk. All of this means we have unfortunately had to make the difficult decision to close our Community forum and social channels.”

This shift in strategy seems to align with YouView’s current standing in the television market. YouView is available in a few million homes in the UK, primarily through its association with BT, TalkTalk, and certain Sony televisions​.

Yet the brand has faced challenges in establishing itself as a dominant retail proposition. While it was designed as an open platform to become the next generation of Freeview, YouView has mainly served to boost the broadband subscriptions of BT and TalkTalk.

Freeview Play, which is supported on a lot more devices and has taken off in recent years, is quite similar to YouView – making the platform’s added functions somewhat obsolete. 

New Freeview Play 2022 mockup
Freeview Play

Also, YouView’s situation is a bit shaky because the main companies supporting it aren’t putting in as much money as before. 

Last year, The BBC and ITV announced they would give £750,000 to YouView for the next two years, a sum that calls into question their continued commitment to the platform​​.

This, coupled with the fact that BT and TalkTalk prefer to promote their own services over the YouView brand, paints a picture of a platform at a crossroads.

Yet, even amidst these challenges, YouView is not disappearing. Instead, it’s pivoting to focus on its partnerships with BT, TalkTalk, and Sony, all of which have integrated YouView into their offerings.

Meanwhile, TalkTalk has also been promoting a competing platform from Netgem TV, which doesn’t support YouView, and the Android TV box which is still based on YouView for its over-the-air channels.

TALKTALK 4K TV Box screens
TalkTalk 4K TV Box

While the path ahead for YouView might seem uncertain, one thing is clear: the television industry in the UK, and the role of YouView within it, is in a state of flux.

Where Can I Still Find YouView Assistance?

With the upcoming closure of YouView’s community forum, there are still several avenues of assistance:

BT Set Top Box Users: Direct your queries to BT TV Support. Additional resources are available at the YouView support site, which offers clear navigation for users to receive assistance from their respective internet and set-top box providers. 

TalkTalk Set Top Box Users: Reach out to TalkTalk TV support for assistance. Similar to BT users, you can also use the support website for additional self-help. Your Set Top Box’s Help App will continue to receive regular updates.

TalkTalk YouView Box
TalkTalk’s YouView Box

YouView Retail Set Top Box Users: The self-help website remains available for any queries you might have. Your Help App will also continue to receive updates – but other than that, you can try to reach out to the manufacturer of the box (such as Humax).

Sony TV Users: You can find help on the Sony Website for your specific TV model, while support.youview.com will provide information for any YouView error codes.

How will YouView communicate information about software releases and updates?

YouView has announced that it will no longer host information regarding software release updates on its website.

Will my Retail Set Top Box continue to receive updates?

Yes, as long as your YouView Set Top Box remains connected to the internet and powered on, you will receive relevant updates as usual.

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