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YouView expands public beta to around 2,000 homes

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YouView, the BBC-backed joint venture project that aims to "change TV forever", has called for more participants in its public trial.

Last month, a set top box produced by YouView, previously referred to as Project Canvas, started being trialled in 350 homes in the UK.

Ahead of its long-awaited launch in the second half of this year, YouView is now looking to expand the beta to around 2,000 homes, as participants put the hardware and software through its paces.

Registration for the beta trial is now open to all UK households with a broadband connection. The successful trialists will get their hands on a YouView box early.

YouView, which has Lord Sugar as its chairman, said that its platform will offer subscription-free television, catch-up TV and on-demand services "all delivered straight to the TV from one easy-to-use box".

"With a host of fantastic content from digital TV channels as well as on-demand services such as BBC iPlayer, 4OD, Demand 5 and ITV Player on offer, YouView will also allow viewers to scroll back to catch up on their favourite TV, search with their remote control and record, rewind, pause and watch in HD," said YouView.

The launch of YouView was originally set for 2010, but the project was delayed several times, first by regulatory challenges but more recently by technical problems.

YouView
This has led to concerns that the YouView offering will be out of date by the time it actually reaches the market.

But YouView's backers - the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, TalkTalk, BT and transmission firm Arqiva - will hope that the service can still appeal to consumers, particularly those who don't want a pay-TV service from Virgin Media or Sky.

YouView set top boxes are expected to cost around £200 when they launch, although its shareholders BT and TalkTalk are likely to subsidise them as part of customer product bundles.

You can register now for the YouView beta on the official website. If you are selected, YouView will supply a YouView box and request feedback while you use the service.

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