Lord Sugar’s YouView Loses Set-Top Box Supplier

One of the YouView video-on-demand project’s seven set-top box partners is pulling out of the venture.

Lord Alan Sugar replaced former Ofcom mandarin Kip Meek as chairman of YouView in March with a brief to ensure the problem-plagued service is available to consumers by early 2012.

The £115m initiative, which is backed by Channel 5, BT (NYSE: BT), TalkTalk, ITV (LSE: ITV), Channel 4 and Arqiva, was originally due to launch in June.

“We can confirm that Technicolor have decided to withdraw from YouView set-top box development,” said a spokesman for YouView. “However, they were one of seven manufacturing partners and Youview remains on track for a consumer launch in early 2012.”

Sugar was brought in for his set-top box expertise. His company, Amstrad, at one time made home computers but had focused on TV technology by 2007, when it was sold for £125m to BSkyB.

Technicolor’s departure leaves six remaining device partners: Humax, Huawei, Pace, Manhattan, Vestel and Cisco.

YouView was intended to “future proof” Freeview and Freesat by generating video-on-demand revenues for their founder broadcasters, but delays have allowed Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED) and Sky to get a headstart with their own internet TV services.

This article originally appeared in MediaGuardian.