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EE TV is a Set Top Box to Rival YouView

By Gerald Lynch on at

It's already the UK's biggest mobile operator, and now EE has its sights set on your living room too. The network is preparing to launch its own Freeview set top box to rival BT and TalkTalk's YouView.

Exclusive to EE customers, free with an EE broadband package and from £9.95 per month to EE's mobile-only customers, it'll offer up 70 Freeview channels and access to leading on-demand catch-up services. These include iPlayer and Demand 5, music service Deezer, as well as internet video services such as YouTube.

1 TB of local storage is built in (enough for 600 hours of shows), alongside four HD tuners, with the box supporting dual-band Wi-Fi and 1Gbps Ethernet.

With a user interface designed to feel more like a mobile app rather than a traditional set-top box, touchscreen controls and multi-device viewing sits at the core of the offering.

Multi-screen features allows four devices, including mobile and TV, to watch different content on multiple devices under a single license. A partner app will also allow the EE TV to be controlled by your phone or tablet, though a standard hardware remote will still be available in the box. The app also works as an EPG, allowing you to browse for your next show without interrupting or obscuring whats on TV.

A Replay feature allows a user to begin watching a show on a living room TV, and pick up where they left off on a mobile device elsewhere, as with Netflix. It also automatically records the last 24 hours of shows from your favourite six channels.

There are a few neat gesture controls too: flicking a programme towards the EE TV box from a touchscreen device will "throw" the show onto your main TV. Clearly, notes have been taken from Google's Chromecast offering.

And, naturally, there will be a new Kevin Bacon advert to show it all off too.

"We've gained a reputation for innovation," said EE CEO Olaf Swantee at the morning's unveiling.

"Over 50 per cent of all data on our mobile network is TV- and video-related. And with such a successful broadband service, it's been something we've been considering for a long time.

"We're seeing a more active approach to TV viewing, in line with our more nomadic lives. The couch potato is cooked [...] It's time for a new era for TV, with mobile at the heart of the home TV experience."

Orange, which falls under the EE umbrella, had attempted to buy the Project Kangaroo team back in 2009, which eventually went on to become YouView.