BBC promises Canvas co-operation

By Julian Clover

July 24, 2009 16.29 UK

The BBC Executive has pledged to work more closely with the industry, particularly the DTG, on the development of Project Canvas. It follows widespread criticism of the lack of openness surrounding the IPTV proposals.

The promise is included in the Executive’s response to a request for more information from the BBC Trust, the body charged with regulating the corporation. Included is a proposal by the BBC to work with the Digital TV Group (DTG), which has said it is willing to widen its membership and change its organisational structure in order to help enable the broadband connected specification.

“Our approach to industry engagement reflects the interests of (at least three) different industries likely to be involved in any successful deployment of a broadband connected TV proposition; the consumer electronics industry, the networks (ISPs and others) and the content, service and application development communities,” the BBC said.

The DTG would expand its membership in order to include ISPs. A new edition of the famous D book would also be published, by March 2010, in order to take in a subset of the fuller Canvas specification.

Addressing fears that the deployment of Canvas might turn Britain into a “technological island”, the BBC says it has been in touch with European broadcasters and operators over its objectives for Canvas. However, it is clear that one of the BBC’s aims is to protect its position in the market against pay-TV platforms, particularly over digital terrestrial television. “The ambition [is] to protect and grow the horizontal market, especially for DTT,” the corporation says in its response.

It is hoped that a Canvas specification could be developed in time for the first Canvas-enabled devices to be on the market in 2010.
The BBC Trust has set September 1 as the deadline for further submissions ahead of a new consultation this autumn.