project-canvasProject Canvas looks set to launch in April 2011 after winning approval from the BBC Trust.
The BBC-led joint venture will develop a Freesat-style common standard for TVs and set-top boxes using broadband to access video on demand and other internet content.

The BBC Trust has told the BBC it can go ahead with the other partners – Arqiva, BT, Channel 4, Five, ITV and Talk Talk – provided they follow certain conditions.
The partners are now looking forward to launching the first Canvas set-top boxes in time for Easter Weekend at the end of April 2011.
Services at launch are expected to include BBC iPlayer and other catch-up services, plus Arqiva’s SeeSaw on-demand service, and public services such as NHS Direct.
Richard Halton, project director, said: ‘Project Canvas will safeguard the future of the UK’s free-to-air TV platforms and allow new business models to thrive through an open, internet-connected, TV platform.
‘This brings the benefits of next-generation TV to all consumers, including those who choose not to subscribe to pay-TV. We look forward to rising to that challenge.’
Project Canvas has yet to announce a name, although YouView is currently tipped to be the front runner.

The six major conditions include ensuring that Canvas is a free-to-air service at its core, although it can include additional pay-TV services.
Key accessibility and usability features, such as audio description and content suitability ratings, must be built into the core specification as soon as possible.
The Canvas core technical elements will have to be published tot he TV and electronics industry by July 15, and the industry must be engaged in developing the final set-top box specification, which needs to be ready eight months before the first boxes launch – making this year’s IBC conference the likely venue for industry to complete final talks.

The barriers to entry for manufacturers and content providers in terms of technical, content and quantity standards must be minimal, and access must not be bundled with other products or services, such as broadband subscriptions from BT or Talk Talk. EPG listings must be awarded in a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory manner.
The project will have to meet all legal standards including competition and state aid limits, and the BBC’s costs will be regulated.
‘The Trust has concluded that Project Canvas will deliver significant public value for licence fee payers – people with a broadband connection will be able to access a wide range of on-demand content including BBC iPlayer, free of charge, through their TV sets,’ said Diane Coyle, BBC Trustee and chair of the Trust’s Strategic Approvals Committee.

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By Expat