Lord Sugar made chairman of YouView

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The Independent Online

Lord Sugar has become non-executive chairman of a web-connected television service backed by the BBC.

The Apprentice star replaces Kip Meek on the board of YouView which is also backed by ITV, Channels 4 and 5 and broadband providers including BT and TalkTalk.

The service, which will work through set-top boxes, will combine Freeview channels with the internet and on-demand services.

Mr Meek, who only joined YouView in July last year having worked at communications watchdog Ofcom, said: "It has been apparent for some time the YouView board would benefit from additional expertise in consumer marketing and technology delivery. Lord Sugar clearly supplies this. As the venture progresses towards launch, the change in chairman makes sense. I wish Lord Sugar well."

Lord Sugar's firm Amstrad made Sky Digital interactive boxes in the UK and TalkTalk chairman Charles Dunstone said his experience was "unrivalled".

He said: "As we move from the development to the delivery stage, I can't think of anyone better placed to help bring YouView to market than Lord Sugar."

YouView has faced opposition from companies who claim it could breach the Competition Act.

Last year, Ofcom said it would not investigate the service despite Virgin Media and BSkyB raising a number of complaints.

The service, previously known as Project Canvas, will work through set-top boxes and is expected to be launched this year.

The boxes are expected to sell for around £200 and viewers will be able to buy a box on its own or get it as part of a deal when they sign up to a broadband service.

It will allow them to watch the past seven days' catch-up television, record entire series, search for their favourite programmes and pause live television.