Internet-connected TV service YouView, which will launch next week after two years of delays, will allow broadcasters to stream linear channels after an initial VoD-only offering.

YouView, originally planned for a 2010 launch, will target the estimated 9 million non-pay-TV homes that have a broadband connection. Set-top boxes will sell for around £200.

To begin with, it will feature the VoD players of its broadcaster stakeholders – the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 – which will be accessible via both a catch-up section and a seven-day backwards EPG.

Separate portals from shareholders BT and TalkTalk will also feature a range of VoD content.

Live TV will initially only be available from existing Freeview channels over DTT before phase two allows content providers to stream linear channels via IPTV.

The decision means pay-TV broadcasters and niche content providers will be limited to offering consumers VoD in the short term.

One executive involved with the service said live streaming would prove vital in driving uptake. “Having a selection of live channels will dramatically improve the chances of selling the service,” he said. “People understand linear TV more readily than VoD.”

No date has been set for rolling out linear streaming capability, but BT is likely to be keen to launch it before next August to enable it to distribute its forthcoming Premier League channel via YouView.

Distribution across devices such as tablets and mobiles, and multi-room capabilities, are also understood to form part of the roadmap.

This story was originally published by Broadcast.