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The much-delayed YouView IPTV service is moving closer to launch, with TalkTalk set to run an in-house trial during early 2012.

TalkTalk revealed details of the "friends and family" pilot in an analysts' update, and the proposed launch date is believed to be in January, reports the Guardian.

Around 3,000 of its YouView set-top boxes, made by the manufacturer Huawei, will be handed out to staff as TalkTalk aims to hone the end-to-end customer experience.

A public trial – involving around 10,000 TalkTalk customers – is then expected to follow later in the spring, ahead of a national rollout.

The broadband provider will be hoping the majority of its eight million customers show an interest in the connected television service.

"The launch of YouView next year will be a major development for TalkTalk," the company stated.

"We are on track to offer a value for money product of phone, broadband and TV in spring 2012."

The YouView initiative, which will see TV content delivered through a broadband connection, has been beset by delays over the last two years.

Despite backing from TalkTalk, BT, and the four terrestrial broadcasters, a number of technical problems have threatened to derail the project.

The partners are hoping the launch of YouView will encourage customers to switch away from more expensive Sky and Virgin subscription TV services.

Analyst firm Point Topic recently forecast that around a third of Europe's 160 million broadband subscribers will be using web-enabled TV services by the end of the decade.

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