YouView, a service that combines Freeview channels with online content, has finally announced its UK consumer retail launch by the end of the month.
The company, chaired by Lord Sugar and invested in by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel Five, TalkTalk, BT and Aqiva, will offer Humax-based PVR boxes via retail partners for £299 by the end of July. The project was due to launch in 2010 and has cost £70m so far.
Lord Sugar said: "People ask what market we think there is for this. This will replace free view boxes in the UK, it's the only box you need in your home."
He added that he would not be surprised if prices for YouView boxes - formerly known as Project Canvas - fell to £99 in a couple of years.
At the launch event in London, the company demonstrated a menu system that allows users to view, pause and record broadcast TV as well as view catchup TV seamlessly. Catchup TV will be available for at least the last week, and possibly longer, depending on the broadcaster.
The boxes offer 500GB of recording capacity, and ISP partners such as TalkTalk and BT will be offering packages including the box and broadband which are likely to undercut this.
Richard Halton, YouView CEO said: "It's simply a better TV experience. Whether the programme you want to view is in the past or present you can watch it within two clicks from one menu. Intuitive search means that finding new content is easy and simple."
Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com, said: "Although it clearly intends to be a strong proposition for late digital TV adopters, it remains to be seen whether YouView will prove compelling enough to carve out a space for itself at this stage in a highly competitive space, especially with a steep retail price and relative paucity of content at launch."