If anyone ever doubted that the British do things differently than we do here in the United States, the news that 350 British citizens will be getting a free YouView Television set-top box installed in their homes, all cutesy of the British government. What the box does though, is still sort of murky. But as the Telegraph describes, it’s purpose is to help the average British citizen watch Internet streamed content on their big screen telly’s. Mail Online says that once all the kinks are worked out, which should be sometime in September, anyone that wants one will be able to buy the box for £200 and then use the service that it provides, free of charge.
The Telegraph says that some are wondering if the £100m the government and all of the major British networks have poured into the new device will actually be worth the time, money and energy that has gone into creating it.
Mail Online says that the set-top box will offer services unlike anything else in existence; it will take the concept of a Roku box, and run with it, offering not just a menu option that takes users to a streamed content provided by others, but will offer it in an organized way that makes moving between network broadcasts and streamed online content nearly seamless. Thus, a user should find, for example, if they choose a BBC option, listings for virtually ever BBC show ever Broadcast (so long as it has been put online) so appear along with a way to sort through the offerings in a logical menuing system. When something is found that the user wants to watch, they simply select it, without worry about having to pay something extra for it. And that’s the real difference between the US model of television content and that found in most of Europe. Rather than putting up pay-walls, Europe encourages its citizens to watch content that more often than not, was funded by one of the government sponsored networks such as the BBC, in the first place.
The Telegraph points out that YouView is not without its critics, some who have gone on record as saying the whole project has been nothing but a colossal waste of tax payer money. They say there is little new for users of Internet ready television sets, despite the fact that no one but the engineers have actually seen what YouView will look like once completed; and they all say that YouView will offer users a way to find what they are looking for in streamed content, while Internet ready connections do little more than allow for the piping in of content. Finding what is wanted, is up to the user.