YouView, the upcoming Freeview-with-internet-extras service, has opened up its field trials to the public.
The much-delayed venture has been running limited closed trials among its own staff and about 350 selected TalkTalk subscribers.
Now anyone can register their interest in becoming a tester via the YouView website, as long as you meet certain criteria – such as having fast enough broadband and good Freeview coverage – and agree to the lengthy terms and conditions.
If selected, participants will be loaned a YouView set-top box for the trial period. This is expected to be a Humax-manufactured model due to retail for about £300 when the platform launches later in 2012 (cheaper subsidised boxes may be available to customers of YouView partner companies such as BT and TalkTalk).
Connecting cables for broadband and your TV will also be supplied for the trial, along with tech support if you get stuck. You must still pay for your broadband service and hold a TV licence.
Most of the basic YouView content is free, being based on Freeview or online catch-up services such as iPlayer and 4oD. The ITV Player is currently listed as “coming soon” in the YouView availability checker.
During the trial if you want to watch any premium programmes then you’ll be responsible for paying for those – and if you go over any broadband usage cap accessing YouView’s online content, again you’ll have to cough up for those charges.
During the trail’s sign-up process, YouView asks about what other home entertainment equipment you use. Applicants also have to fill in a short questionnaire about their TV viewing habits. YouView says, “We need this information before we can consider you for a place in the trial.”
Those taking part must also commit to using the box regularly and completing feedback surveys for YouView. Whether you love or hate the experience, YouView wants it strictly hush-hush. “It is essential that you keep information relating to your participation in the Trial confidential,” say the terms.
“In particular, you must not: disclose to anyone else any information, experience, images, content or details relating to your participation in the Trial; publish any comments and/or still or moving images in or on any media, including on the internet or on any blogs or social networking sites, relating to your YouView Box or the Trial.”
You can apply to test out the service here.