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YouView has finally launched in the UK - two years behind schedule.

The broadband-enabled TV service, which combines Freeview channels with on-demand content, is now available to UK households.

With a YouView set-top box, viewers will be able to watch programmes broadcast on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel Five over the last seven days.

Humax-manufactured boxes will initially be priced at £299, while households will also require a reliable broadband connection in order to access content.

Lord Sugar, the YouView project's Non-Executive Chairman, described the launch as being "a great moment in UK television".

He told the BBC that YouView - which was originally set to be launched in 2010 - was "better late than never".

"For players in the telecoms space such as BT this move represents an attempt to level the playing field with Sky and Virgin Media," Lord Sugar stated.

"They can piggyback the success of Freeview and offer lower cost entry points into the pay-TV market, providing an opportunity to attract more subscribers than they had been able to do with products such as BT Vision."

Some critics have argued that the delays suffered by the YouView service - originally known as Project Canvas - may have damaged its long-term commercial prospects.

And Paul O'Donovan, Principal Research Analyst at Gartner, described the absence of integrated Wi-Fi in the set-top box hardware as "a great mistake".

"The future is all about integrating handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets with a TV and you can't do that without a wireless connection," he told the news provider.

"This gives Sky, Virgin and the Smart TV makers an opportunity to stay ahead for the foreseeable future."

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