Unlike Ofcom and its, shall we say, controversial handing of Project Kangaroo the BBC Trust seems to be doing a good job with Project Canvas, having given its approval and issued a slew of information pertaining to its development. No matter how much Sky Wishes to protest, it looks like Canvas is definitely coming.
As previously mentioned, Canvas won't be a distribution system, as such, but rather a set of hardware and software standards for IP-distributed content. It's rather like Freesat, in fact; any manufacturer or distributor can get on board, but it has to meet a set spec to do so. The intention is for hardware to be available by Christmas 2010, which means the specs are going to need to be nailed down reasonably soon, to give hardware manufacturers enough time to actually built kit. Again, as with Freesat, it's likely only one or two partners will have hardware at launch, with others following suit later.
The EPG will be designed by the BBC. Though obviously not finalised yet by any stretch of the imagination, the sample shots look pretty snazzy and just a little reminiscent of the in-film interactive menus of more recent Blu-rays. Canvas is to be jointly owned by public service broadcasters and ISPs and, as you can see above, will maintain control of the vast majority of the user experience - despite third party's protests.
Further consultation is now taking place, with details coming in the Autumn, so keep a weather eye on the horizon.
Via The Register.