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BBC Trust Approves Project Canvas

Gordon Kelly by

BBC Trust Approves Project Canvas

Here's a bit of early Christmas cheer...

The BBC Trust has for once done what people wanted and approved the Project Canvas platform. A verdict had been expected shortly and is not only a boost for founder the BBC, but also the industry at large which should now have a solid next generation successor to FreeView and FreeSat. ITV, Channel 4, Five, BT and TalkTalk have already thrown their weight behind the platform.

"After careful consideration, the Trust has provisionally concluded that Canvas is likely to benefit licence fee payer," said Diane Coyle, chair of the Trust's Strategic Approvals Committee."We believe Canvas could be an important part of the way in which the BBC delivers its services in the future."

That said, this being the BBC Trust, it has thrown in a number of conditions in with its approval. Namely:

  • The core technical specification must be published well in advance to allow manufacturers to adapt to the Canvas standard.

  • Other content providers must have access to the platform.

  • Any quality standards for internet service providers must be applied on a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory basis.

  • A Trust review, 12 months after its launch, will assess the effects Canvas has on the partner's incentives to syndicate their content to other platforms.

  • The platform must remain accessible without a subscription.

  • The BBC must return for further approval if costs exceed those projected by more than 20% in any one year.

  • The BBC must report on whether the proposed accessibility features, such as audio description, have been incorporated. The Trust will review the signposting of content and parental controls.
In fairness, all these seem perfectly reasonable for a standard which should hopefully mainstream on-demand video content and TV-based web access as well delivery of high definition channels on top of broadcast content. Encouragingly Virgin Media has also said it is "currently considering" joining Canvass, though there seems little hope of Sky making a full house, despite BBC hopes.

Still, for those depressed about yet another Christmas stuck in front of endless terrestrial re-runs know this: the future of UK TV viewing now looks very bright...


via BBC News

Go to comments


December 22, 2009, 9:09 pm

So, whilst I was previously thinking of only waitiing until Freeview HD was up and running before buying a new TV with it built-in (circa next summer/the footie World Cup), this suggests I should wait at least a year...

Now, I appreciate that nothing will be completely future-proof but having something that meets Canvas specs sounds pretty fundamental to me. Oh well...


December 22, 2009, 9:38 pm

I wish the BBC would do a MCE plug in for iPlayer.

Canvas would be brilliant on my htpc, if they went onto do that too.

All we need now is for ISP to stop crying about "usage" and it will be rather cool.

(I got an email from sky saying i've exceeded my 10gb this month - about 90% of the is from skyplayer on mce and my xbox!!)


December 22, 2009, 9:39 pm

More fool sky, from what I've seen of this system.. which works on 'app channel' type things that you can add for video podcasts and RSS feeds etc; tThere's no reason why Sky couldn't put it's Sky player service in there and let you log in. It would save them (and their customers) a lot of headaches if they incorporated a "canvas" module to the Sky Guide on their sky boxes. Due to Sky's "one way" nature, you'd have thought they would be jumping on this as it could be the first sturdy standard which they can use to actually offer proper on-demand services. Rupert Murdoch isn't exactly know for his forward thinking though is he.


December 22, 2009, 10:14 pm

@gunholio - There is an iplayer plugin for MCE, in fact theres an excellent plugin that pulls from all the major catchup channels


Project canvas is here already for windows mce users :-)


December 23, 2009, 1:25 pm

Another small step to everything-over-IP. I really can't wait for Fiber broadband to up speeds and reliability to have everything: phone (VoIP), TV (TVoIP), and standard internet all going through one, fast, reliable connection.

Kudos to the beeb for one further step to proper convergent media. Not so much kudos to Sky for trying to do their own thing and not help standardise the platform.


December 23, 2009, 2:56 pm


Thanks mate - I'll give that a play tonight (rather excited now, just had a look at the site ;)


December 23, 2009, 7:06 pm

All the points that the BBC made seem fairly obvious - why weren't they part of the plan at the start?!


December 24, 2009, 1:59 pm

@gunholio and Stelph - I would recommend http://code.google.com/p/mce-m... as am iplayer plugin for MCE. I've tried tunerfreeMCE and it always seemed a bit patchy for me (particularly switching to full screen viewing).

mce-media-core is in very early development, but to me just works better - it seems like an official plug in to me, whereas tunerfreeMCE always seems rougher round the edges.

It's only iplayer at the moment, but the developer hopes to extend it to other catchup services :)

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