BBC partner in 'future of net TV' project

Wednesday, February 20 2008, 11:31 GMT

A team of 21 partners including the BBC are working on a new platform for "next-generation internet television" with a 14m grant from the European Union.

Organisations and companies from across the continent are working on the project, called P2P Next.

They are putting together a software-based, cross-platform, open source peer-to-peer system which would stream video and have a social aspect with friends and taste recommendations.

George Wright, executive producer of the BBC's rapid development unit, said "We're aiming to build Mac, Windows and GNU/Linux clients, as well as a dedicated hardware set top box client, to allow us to deliver the core technical goals: an open standards-based 'next-generation' internet television distribution system, using P2P and social interaction."

It is being funded for the next four years through the EU's 7th Framework scheme, which promotes co-operation and technical excellence.

P2P Next will look at the full range of issues of delivering content on the internet such as rights, regulatory and commercial problems.

Wright, on the BBC's internet blog, emphasised that the technology would not be replacing the iPlayer any time soon: "This isn't yet a project that TV viewers will see and it's never going to replace the BBC's consumer offerings; it's a test bed for new ideas, allowing us to collaborate with colleagues across Europe, and to hone and develop technology which could help shape the TV of tomorrow."