BBC teams up with ITV and BT for "Project Canvas"

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project-canvas.jpgFollowing the utter failure of Kangaroo, BBC and ITV bosses have put their heads together and come up with a different strategy. They’re launching a public consultation on a proposal for a IPTV service that they’re calling Project Canvas.

There’s not a whole lot of detail available yet, but it appears that the companies want to put together a set-top box service that’ll deliver television (in HD), a PVR service, internet access (to YouTube and other sites), and some sort of electronic program guide to it all. Sounds messy, but then so did Kangaroo.

The partners hope that it would cost in the region of £100-200 for the consumer, and a 2010 launch is aimed at. The BBC says it’ll contribute £6 million to the project over the next five years, out of a total of £16.6 million that it’ll need.

Don’t know about you, but I’m perfectly happy just plugging in a PC to my TV and using that to watch YouTube or iPlayer as necessary. Why would I need a set-top-box to do the same thing? As with many things, I think the key will be in the implementation. If it’s done as well as iPlayer, it’ll be wonderful. If not, it’ll be an expensive waste of time.

Duncan Geere

8 comments

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  • Well said, such a person should be a good sentence, or the future will be more rampant.

  • There’s a chance too that the actual picture delivered may be higher quality, and therefore more suited to a big TV screen rather than a small laptop picture scaled up to fit. I say this just because there’s a part in the BBC’s doc where they say that “a GB is approximately 30 minutes of PC iPlayer video, or 10 minutes of Canvas video”. This make it sound like the Canvas video is going to be possibly 3x better quality / same quality at a larger size.

  • I wouldn’t say Canvas has come about as a result of the failure of Kangaroo – it had been publicly proposed long before the CC killed Kangaroo.

    There are actually 3 figures being mentioned when it comes to cost:
    1. The £6million is what the BBC says will be its share of the total Project Canvas amount, assuming there are 3 other equal partners (ITV & BT Vision have committed to be a part already).
    2. That total cost of Project Canvas (for all parties) for the first 5 years is £24 million.
    3. The £16.6 million figure mentioned is what the BBC is estimating they’ll outlay when combining Project Canvas with their existing Freesat operations, for 5 years of operation.

    From a consumer point of view, I would suggest the benefit isn’t so much for people like us who are tech literate, and comfortable with things like plugging in the laptop to the TV, but for those who aren’t. From their submission it sounds like the BBC are hopeful Canvas will actually also be able to used across some existing Freeview and Freesat boxes (so not everyone will have to buy a new set top box).

    Because it’s an open standard too, if other content provides got involved down the line, it would be mean good quality, long form content to the TV set could be delivered on-demand, either without the need for subscription TV and/or with access to much more content through a combination of free and paid models.

    • I suppose you’re right, it’s for mum and dad and gran, etc. But I think that the general population’s becoming increasing tech-literate, and that by 2010 there’s a good chance people will know how to go about plugging a laptop in to a big TV… We’ll see, I suppose!

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