Canvas partners defend Sky criticisms

By Julian Clover
October 12, 2009 19.58 UK

Project Canvas director Richard Halton has said openness is behind the plan to create a platform for the next generation of internet-connected TV devices.

Responding to Sky’s latest submission to the BBC Trust consultation, Halton stated Canvas would bring in all content owners, internet service providers and device manufacturers. He said Canvas was neither a BBC platform, nor would Canvas be adopting a “BBC standard”, rather a standard for connected TVs was being developed with the Digital TV Group (DTG). “This was always our intention and work has already begun. Our ambition is that the Canvas platform would be compliant with that standard,” Halton wrote in his BBC blog.

The DTG became involved in Canvas in July having previously been amongst the critics of the project’s development and lack of openess. Although the BBC is seen as the leader of the venture ITV, Five and BT have all committed their support.

Sky says in its submission that the BBC’s public purposes and obligations could be “discharged more proportionately through a genuinely broad policy of content distribution across third party platforms and services”. It says the unnecessary participation in the development and launch of Freesat can be used as a precedent to justify further intervention in content delivery platforms.

Directly answering one of Sky’s criticism’s directly, Halton said that as an open platform, Sky could increase the reach of its catch-up service Sky Player through the Canvas platform. The satcaster had said in its submission that despite consultations with various members of the project it was unclear whether Sky Player was compatible.

At a European level, the EBU is currently working on the possibility of uniting the various standards proposed for broadband delivery that also include HbbTV, Miniweb, MHEG-5 and MHP.