BT is bringing in boxes from Humax in order to launch its YouView service, after reportedly rejecting those provided by its intended supplier Pace. The Financial Times reports that the boxes Pace provided BT did not meet its requirements. BT still apparently plans to use the Pace box, which is expected to be smaller with a faster processor, but it is not clear when it will be ready.
It is the latest in a long line of problems that seem to have beset YouView, which has lacked pace from its inception. The platform was launched to the media just before the Olympics, a year behind schedule. It is still awaiting a marketing launch and a full roll out by broadband service provider partners BT and TalkTalk.
There were originally seven suppliers expected to produce boxes for the YouView platform. Cisco and Technicolor pulled out. Pace, previously a suppler for the BT Vision service, was selected as a supplier by BT, while TalkTalk chose Huawei. The Huawei boxes for TalkTalk were seen on demonstration at the IBC trade show in Amsterdam.
Humax launched a retail version of the YouView digital video recorder, initially for £299, now on sale for £279. The Korean company subsequently launched a comparable box for the next generation Freesat service at the same price point.
The Humax retail boxes already recognise a BT broadband connection and offer an additional menu with BT provided programming.
The apparent failure to deliver a box for BT on schedule is a further blow for the reputation of Pace, which has been beset by problems although appeared to be turning things around following a change of management.
The company, based in Yorkshire is the largest manufacturer by volume of set-top boxes. Pace said in a statement, which hardly inspires confidence: “any outcome of the commercial and technical discussions with BT on the YouView contract is of no material impact to the company’s earnings in this or future years”.