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BBC Trust Approves Project Canvas

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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...

Link:
via BBC News

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