BBC Director-General Mark Thompson has predicted that YouView will be a huge success when it launches this year.
Developed by the BBC, ITV TalkTalk and BT, YouView will offer broadband delivered on demand content in addition to the broadcast (linear) Freeview channels.
Content providers such as Netflix and Sky’s NOW TV will be able to offer their services to users on flexible terms.
The boxes will be able to record programmes and will feature a backwards EPG linked to catch-up services such as the BBC’s iPlayer.
Appearing before the Hose of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Thompson said box manufacturers have orders for “tens of thousands” of boxes in the system.
He conceded “We will not have a very very large number out there in time for the Olympics” but appeared to suggest that some boxes would be in homes by the Games.
Thompson predicted “take up will be very rapid” and defended the decision to delay roll-out until the system was “stable” and provided users with a high quality experience.