Project Canvas announces it's now YouView

Couch potatoes rejoice, Project Canvas, or YouView as it’s officially been named, will be landing in living rooms across the country in early 2011.

New CEO Richard Halton has hailed the BBC backed IPTV as likely to “change the way we watch television forever.”

Viewers will have the choice of a subscription-free YouView set top box that will combine their favourite digital TV channels with the last seven days’ catch up TV, as well as bringing a full range of on-demand services and interactive extras straight to the living room.

It has seven partners, Arqiva, BT, ITV, Channel Four, Channel Five and Talk Talk. But Auntie has angered her Sky and Virgin Media cousins who have in the past made it clear that they don’t agree with the BBC’s involvement in the platform.

Features will include a programme guide that goes backwards as well as forwards. This will enable people to easily see what’s on now alongside everything they’ve missed in the last 7 days. The set top boxes will also  include a personal video recorder so viewers can pause live TV or record an entire series.

And those who have square eyes will also be able to search for the kind of programmes they like by genre, interest or locality, including films, sports and new content from the internet.

Halton, who will be working alongside Kip Meek, who was appointed Chairman in August, said: “We are creating an exciting consumer brand which will stand for a better TV experience for UK homes. Connected TV creates all kinds of creative possibilities, for existing networks as well as local services and new developers of interactive applications. It all adds up to great news for TV audiences. I look forward to working closely with the creative and developer communities to open up exciting possibilities for viewers to discover and enjoy content in new ways.”

Kip Meek, said: “YouView is key to ensuring that everyone in the UK benefits from next-generation TV and the UK has a competitive market. Viewers will get more choice whilst broadcasters and content providers both national and local will get a fantastic new means of finding audiences.”

YouView set top boxes will be available for a one-off fee with no contract. However, to get the full range of on-demand and interactive services, viewers will need a broadband connection.