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YouTube To Launch Free Satellite TV App

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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The world’s favourite video platform is coming to Freesat

Google has announced plans to launch a dedicated YouTube app through the Freesat digital satellite service.

Unlike a traditional TV channel, Google’s product will be built around HTML5 and offer rich Web-enabled features and “fully interactive viewing experience”. It will be available for free on any compatible device from the end of next month. YouTube has not yet elaborated on how exactly the “interactivity” will work.

Update: Earlier, it was erroneously reported that YouTube and Freesat will be launching a TV channel. This has been denied by a YouTube spokesperson.

Smarter TV

From the end of March, YouTube  will be available on any set-top box that supports the Freesat ‘free time’ standard. The organisation estimates that the new service will reach around 1.7 million UK households. Just like any other web-enabled service, it will require a broadband connection.

YouTube © bloomua, Shutterstock 2012“We’re happy to be working with Freesat so that Freesat users can now access YouTube from the platform. Our creator community is developing quality content that will delight and inspire viewers and we’re pleased to be able to bring it to people in new ways,” said Peter Sherman, Product Marketing manager for YouTube.

The company didn’t elaborate on whether the TV app will give access to all of YouTube’s 1,730,000,000 videos, or limit the viewing to certain types of content.

Freesat, a joint venture between BBC and ITV, has recently announced that it signed up 55,000 new households to its free service in the third quarter of 2012, more than Sky and BT Vision combined.

Freesat offers subscription-free access to over 180 TV, radio and interactive channels, including HD services. In autumn 2012, the company launched its ‘free time’ standard that introduced elements of Open IPTV Forum (OIPF) technology, HbbTV standard and HTML 5 language to its TV platform, enabling the creation of interactive applications.

“They [YouTube] join Freesat at a time of rapid growth for our business,” said Emma Scott, managing director at Freesat, promising content “previously unseen on free to air TV in the UK”.

Meanwhile, late last week Google announced that its executive chairman Eric Schmidt will release 3.2 million shares, or 42 percent of his stake in the company, back on the market over the course of 2013. This sale, worth around £1.6 billion, could become one of the biggest personal share disposals in history.

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