Canvas, HbbTV co-operation

Project Canvas, the IPTV joint venture between the BBC, ITV, Channel 5 and BT, is co-operating with HbbTV, the new pan-European initiative aimed at harmonising the broadcast and broadband delivery of entertainment to the end consumer through connected TVs and set-top boxes. The Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) cross industry consortium includes broadcasters Canal+, France Televisions, and TF1, German research institute Institut für Rundfunktechnik, satellite operator SES ASTRA, as well as the software and media solutions providers ANT and OpenTV.

Although mooted by some industry observers as a 'Canvas killer' when it was launched at the end of August 2009, Richard Halton, Programme Director IPTV, Project Canvas, BBC, told delegates at a MIPCOM Conference on pay-TV versus online video that HbbTV was "an ingredient in what we're developing for Canvas. There are some interesting technical questions that we have to resolve."

He noted that "HbbTV comes out of a technical landscape that is very familiar in Central Europe, less familiar in the UK. Essentially, there's a lot of commonality. The teams are working together to get an aligned position. HbbTV is working directly with two or three of the major manufacturers; we're working with (UK digital TV standards body) DTG." He suggested that any point of difference would be "technical rather than philosophical."