Well what do we have here then? A Gizmodo UK reader kindly sent us a whole raft of just-out-of-the-cardboard photos of a brand new YouView box complete with some hands-on thoughts. Will this be as "revolutionary" as was promised?
According to our tipster, it's a set-top box just like any other, but it's a tidy bit of kit from the looks of it. It certainly apes the Xbox 360 with that ring of light, but it's smaller than a Sky+ box and whisper quiet in operation. It's got a decent selection of ports on the back, including HDMI; optical out, and even scart and component for those who are still rocking the analogue connections. This one is made by Humax, and resembles my pretty decent FreeSat HD box, so that'll be a good thing.
Curiously they also packed a couple of powerline networking adapters in the box, which kind of indicates to me that YouView's worried about how you're going to hook these things up -- wouldn’t it have been easier just to have included Wi-Fi out of the box though? Maybe it does, we don’t know right now.
Our tipster gave us a brief run through of the UI, and it's a pretty standard, if well done, PVR affair. The interesting bit is the full integration of catch-up on-demand content with the EPG -- just scroll back in time and hay presto you're streaming stuff. It worked quite well, almost swish even, but loading times were a bit on the tedious side -- perhaps that's dependent on your connection speed.
The on-demand stuff was split into categories, and looked like there should be a lot more in there than there currently is for this trial -- it's just BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD and Demand 5 for now.
Our anonymous Gizmodian's initial impressions were that YouView isn't quite as revolutionary as the company's been promising for years. Perhaps it was, back when the whole shebang was first conceived, but now it's less revolutionary and more evolutionary. What it does do, however, is offer a one-stop solution for something a lot of people have two or three devices under their TVs to do.
If YouView ties up deals to put the likes of Netflix and LoveFilm on the box too, it really could be a simple solution for everything streaming, TV and catch-up on-demand. I wonder whether that'll actually happen though.