Glass half open
Chip giant Intel is just as keen to be associated with Internet-enabled TVs as it is smartphones. To demonstrate this it hosted an event called Screen Futures, and managed to get not only the new Project Canvas CTO, and former iPlayer boss, Anthony Rose to speak, but also the boss of the biggest ad company in the world - Sir Martin Sorrell.
The former gave us a brief run-down on what Project Canvas is supposed to be all about. He spoke about having one platform and one interface to view all your IPTV and catch-up TV content. "It's an open platform, and it's best of breed in terms of rendering technology and operating systems," said Rose (pictured).
Without naming names, Rose spoke of the advantages of Canvas over "closed" systems, which was probably a reference to the Virgin Media and BSkyB platforms. He also touched on the tricky semantics of open versus closed by saying that having something like Google as your TV's homepage was going too far the other way. "Maybe Google search is too open," he said.
So Canvas sits halfway between ‘closed' platforms and Google. A bit open, you could say. And that's exactly the issue Virgin Media and Sky have with it. VM boss Neil Berkett recently spoke out that, if Canvas was truly open, it wouldn't impose a standard UI on everyone. When we asked Rose to address these concerns, he said merely: "Welcome both companies - nothing prevents them from providing programmes on Canvas which are paid-for or free."
The problem is that they don't see it that way. Addressing our question Sorrell reiterated his earlier point that platform owners, such as VM and Sky, will increasingly hold the balance of power over content providers in the TV world. But he chose not to comment on the viability of Canvas without those companies on board.
Rose did give a straight answer to another question asking for timescales for Project Canvas. He revealed that he expects it to make an appearance in the first half of 2011.