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Project Canvas reportedly given the green light

by Scott Bicheno on 21 December 2009, 15:06

Tags: BBC

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Project management

The BBC Trust - the organisation that supposedly safeguards the best interests of BBC license fee payers - has provisionally ruled in favour of the Beeb's continued involvement in Project Canvas, according to a report in the FT.

Project Canvas was created last February by the BBC to create an open UK standard for IPTV - TV broadcast via the Internet. It has subsequently been joined by the other main free-to-air TV channels as well as ISPs BT and Talk Talk.

Sky, which competes with all of the above and has its own proprietary technology, is unsurprisingly critical of the project. We assume Virgin isn't too chuffed either, and the perennial issue of how fair it is for a state-sponsored organisation to compete with purely commercial ones shows no sign of going away.

The FT cites anonymous sources for this announcement, and it has yet to be confirmed by the BBC Trust, but it's thought that we are now one step closer to being able to buy Project Canvas set-top boxes for around £200 next year.

The addition of Channel 4 and Talk Talk to the project last week could possibly have convinced a previously prevaricating BBC Trust that this is the way forward, the timing would certainly seem to be more than a coincidence.

 

UPDATE - 12:15, 22 December: The BBC Trust has now made this official. It will now undergo a public consultation on the matter until 2 February 2010 and then publish its final decision in the Spring.

 



HEXUS Forums :: 5 Comments

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Are we talking DVB over IP type standard?
So basically a box which connects to BBC iplayer, ITV player, five on demand etc all in one set way.

If people want it then why not, can't see the point myself.
From what I understand, Project Canvas is more about having the broadcasters make their programs available in the same way, rather than just lumping the different on demand players into one box.

I believe this will also let ISPs manages the bandwidth these services will demand. Instead of each viewer pulling the video stream straight from the broadcaster, there should be the opportunity for the ISP to cache or proxy the data, removing the complaint that the likes of iPlayer is costing ISPs too much in data transfer costs.
Funkstar
From what I understand, Project Canvas is more about having the broadcasters make their programs available in the same way, rather than just lumping the different on demand players into one box.

I believe this will also let ISPs manages the bandwidth these services will demand. Instead of each viewer pulling the video stream straight from the broadcaster, there should be the opportunity for the ISP to cache or proxy the data, removing the complaint that the likes of iPlayer is costing ISPs too much in data transfer costs.

All sounds good and sensible. Should hopefully mean that plugins for Windows Media Centre, Mediaportal, XBMC et al can be standardised as well. I've found a nice iplayer plug in for WMC which feels like it's a proper BBC plug in, but it only deals with iplayer, not 4OD, five etc… Would be nice for software to work with all of them.

& it would certainly be good if a few years down the line, Ā£20-30 bog standard freeview boxes could connect to all the catchup services as well just by plugging in a cat 5 cable :)

Going slightly off topic, the next on my personal hit list would be the various restrictions on internet services like Hulu and indeed iplayer. As a consumer, I see no decent reason why Hulu should be limited to the US - surely they can make money from advertising in the UK as well? (I presume the commercial reason is that they want to strike different deals in each country, & I'm sure Sky would object to their exclusive UK deal on a programme disappearing…)

As for iplayer, can't it have adverts if it's a non-uk IP address and use the ad income to help reduce the license fee?
GaryRW
Going slightly off topic, the next on my personal hit list would be the various restrictions on internet services like Hulu and indeed iplayer. As a consumer, I see no decent reason why Hulu should be limited to the US - surely they can make money from advertising in the UK as well? (I presume the commercial reason is that they want to strike different deals in each country, & I'm sure Sky would object to their exclusive UK deal on a programme disappearing…)
it's not just about advertising, although that is a key point, but it's probably got more to do with licensing. Programs are usually sold under exclusive license to a broadcaster for that region. Sometimes there are restrictions on the medium of the broadcast (for instance BBC gets the rights for terrestrial viewers, but satellite viewers need to watch a Sky channel for the same thing. this is common for sports). I suspect there are provisions in the US contracts because of their local and national affiliates etc.

Basically, it's all horribly complicated and built up over decades of cable, satellite and terrestrial development.

GaryRW
As for iplayer, can't it have adverts if it's a non-uk IP address and use the ad income to help reduce the license fee?
I'm sure it will in time, although not all shows will be available, again this is probably a licensing issue. The BBC News site does have adverts when viewed outside the UK. This will change in time, once the platform is a lot more mature. Also the increase in bandwidth the BBC would need to handle would be truly massive, the aditional cost of this may actually exceed the advertising revenue.