The YouView TV platform, which supplies a combined over-the-air and on-demand TV service to millions of customers, has announced that it will abandon its official YouView mobile app, and remove it from both the iOS App Store and Google Play on March 31, 2020.
In response, many of YouView’s customers, who have been using the app to set recordings and control their box from their phones, have taken to social media to protest this move.
YouView, launched back in 2012, is a project backed by the main UK Telecommunication companies and broadcasters. It’s an “upgraded” Freeview of sorts, one that offers free over-the-air channels, a broadband-based catch-up service, and the ability to pay for TV “add-ons”. (If that sounds a lot like FreeviewPlay, you’re not mistaken, as the two services are now pretty similar.)
YouView offers access to most of the Freeview channels and radio stations (BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and many others), as well as the main internet-based catch-up apps. It is used either with a stand-alone dedicated YouView set-top box, or via boxes from BT TV and TalkTalk, which use YouView as their TV interface for subscribers.
According to data from BARB (which measures UK TV audiences), YouView was in about 2 million UK households in 2019. Freeview’s competing service, Freeview Play, reported 7 million users in 2019.
In a statement posted last week on YouView’s support site, as well as on social media, YouView announced that they will be “phasing out” support for their mobile app, with final support ending on March 31 – at which point the app will stop working. (Though, according to YouView, the app will stop working for some boxes even before March 31).
“In order to deliver the most innovative TV experience”, YouView say in their statement, “We are refocusing development away from ‘direct to consumer’ products and toward delivering best in class TV technology services direct to our business partners BT, TalkTalk, Humax and Sony.
“As such we will no longer be continuing a YouView stand-alone mobile app and instead will support our business partners by providing functionality in their own branded TV apps.”
BT TV customers, who use a BT TV set-top box to watch YouView, will be able to continue using the existing BT mobile app to control the box and set recordings.
TalkTalk subscribers, however, won’t be as lucky, as TalkTalk have ALSO announced that they will be phasing out THEIR ‘TV Planner’ app on the same date – March 31.
And those who use stand-alone YouView boxes, will have to rely on their box’ manufacturers to supply their own mobile apps.
Following this announcement, YouView customers have responded on Facebook and Twitter, sounding their grievances with this decision, with many citing the ability to set recordings via the app as the feature they’ll miss the most.
What an absolutely stupid idea! You've just made my Youview box far less useful! Won't be recommending Youview any more.
— Chris L-H (@Underachiever) February 8, 2020
That's pathetic! How do I go about getting a refund for my recent purchase of a massive doorstop?
— Wayneish (@MystifyWayne) February 4, 2020
Some have written that the app functionality was the main reason for them choosing a YouView box over other options, and with that being taken away, the box will become obsolete in their eyes.
That sucks. The app has saved me on a few occasions when I’ve been away from home to record something.
As a retail customer, I assume come the end of March I will no longer be able to book recordings on the go?
— Ben Hodder 🤙🏼 (@HoddzDJ) February 4, 2020