TV-friendly erstwhile punter of set-top boxes Alan Suger has admitted that launch of IPTV service YouView will be a “carcass of the real experience”, with a “minimum amount of features”.

The admission by the Apprentice star came at the launch of the service in an event at London. Lord Sugar said that the intention of the box is provide “extraordinary TV for everyone, with on-demand services combined with TV channels with an opportunity to search back an entire week to catch what they’ve missed.”

It’s a whole new way of experiencing TV,” said the Lord, formerly know as Siralan.

Catch-up TV from the likes of BBC, ITV and Channel 4 and Five will be available from launch. The service also sports Now TV, Sky’s new on-demand service. YouView also features a backwards EPG, on-demand search function and the ability to record, pause and rewind live TV.

The digital venture is a partnership between the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. Three communication companies Arquiva, BT and TalkTalk are also involved.

Prices for the first set-top boxes will start at £299 but subsidised versions from TalkTalk and BT are expected this year.  YouView will also be available as part of an ISP package, rolled in with telephone calls and broadband services.

“YouView will be available from high street retailers in the next few weeks and from broadband providers in the coming months,” a statement from YouView said.

The first retailers to offer the boxes will be John Lewis, Comet, Amazon, Argos, Tesco, Richer Sounds, Dixons and Currys. The first box on the market will be from Humax with that company providing rebranded hardware to BT and TalkTalk.

YouView has also partnered with Sky TV to launch Now TV, which will provide digital TV without long-term subscription to customers of the YouView service.

Director of NOW TV, Simon Creasey, said: “We know there’s growing demand from UK consumers to access high-quality pay TV and internet-connected devices provide an innovative new way to help satisfy that demand.

“We will launch NOW TV across a wide variety of platforms and devices to make it as easy and convenient for customers to access some of Sky’s best content. We’re excited about distributing our content on YouView and in giving current free-to-air homes a fresh new choice.”