BBC targets Canvas for iPlayer expansion
By Andrew Laughlin, Technology Reporter
The BBC has said that it views Project Canvas as an "opportunity to extend" the reach of BBC iPlayer to a greater number of platforms.
Speaking at the Intellect Consumer Electronics conference last week, BBC director of new media and technology Erik Huggers said that there are currently 14 different types of iPlayer, and added that there are also plans to bring the video on demand service to additional platforms where this proves technically and economically feasible.
This includes making iPlayer available on Freeview, which may go ahead by the close of 2009.
However, Digital Spy has learned that while the BBC has stated this as an aim, it has not yet confirmed an exact date for the rollout.
This is primarily because there is currently a very low penetration of Ethernet-capable Freeview set-top-boxes on the market that are needed to make the iPlayer work.
The BBC is also aware that this would result in consumers having to acquire a new internet-connected Freeview box before being able to utilise the service.
However, the corporation believes that IPTV joint-venture Canvas may prove pivotal in developing the future technology for broader video on demand usage.
A BBC spokesperson told us: "Our ambitions to extend the reach of BBC iPlayer on television have not been changed by the Canvas proposals. Quite the opposite - we see Canvas as an additional opportunity to extend this reach.
"As you'd expect, we are engaged with various platforms and devices to see where this could be technically possible, and in a bid to reach as many licence fee payers as possible."