YouView ‘re-engineering’ platform to harness power of the web

Nick Thexton

Nick Thexton

YouView can do more to harness the power of the web, according to chief technology officer Nick Thexton, who hinted at a major revamp of the YouView platform using cloud technologies.

Speaking at the Future of Digital Media Distribution conference in London this morning, Thexton said that over-the-top delivery will be “transformative” for the broadcast industry and claimed that the YouView platform is still yet to realise its full potential.

“There is a big re-engineering programme going on at YouView at the moment, which I can’t actually talk about too much,” said Thexton.

“But one of the pieces of this is going to be the way in which we use the very powerful connected infrastructure that we have, with features like search, to really make the system feel a lot faster, a lot smoother and also more empowered going forwards.

“I think that the potential of the platform hasn’t really started. One of the key ingredients technically that is making this happen is cloud adoption.”

Thexton said that with cloud infrastructure it is possible to strip out a lot of complexity of a connected platform like YouView – which is a hybrid digital-terrestrial and internet service.

“A typical refrain is how difficult it is to make changes in set-top boxes. One of my subtexts of joining YouView is to change that dynamic very rapidly and to basically move out of the set-top box as much complexity as possible and move that into the back office.

“When you do the analysis you find that not much needs to stay in the set-top box. Actually an awful lot can move out. As you start to work in multi-device and fragmented universe you don’t want to store quite so much in the set-top box,” said Thexton.

He claimed that as YouView at its core is a connected platform, it is possible for the company to “create a multi-device viewing experience.” Thexton also said that “PVR usage is generally peaking” and that, therefore, there is more of an opportunity for viewers to watch more content through various online services.

Delivering a keynote presentation on ‘The future of media distribution’, Thexton said “I think OTT is actually transformative for our industry, and certainly for YouView.”

Although he conceded that the web is “not quite there yet” in competing with broadcast, he said YouView could use the “very powerful generic infrastructure” of the internet.

“OTT is going to have a big impact on Ultra HD as well. While of course broadcast still gives you fantastic economics, the accessibility and the ability to consume that content fast is going to be seen very quickly through over-the-top distribution,” said Thexton.

“The opportunity to look and follow influences from people like Netflix, who, all credit to them, have done a fantastic job of changing our ways of thinking about how the cloud could be deployed, is something that we can now, in all of our platforms, start to experience.”

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