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Channel4 and UK ISP TalkTalk Join Open Broadband TV Standard

Posted: 16th Dec, 2009 By: MarkJ
UK television Channel 4 and broadband ISP TalkTalk ( AOL , Tiscali etc. ) have both joined Project Canvas, which aims to create a standards based open environment for broadband connected digital television (DTV) receivers. The project was started by the BBC, ITV, BT and will also allow IPTV services, such as the BBC's iPlayer, to be viewed via TV sets.

The BBC’s involvement in project canvas is subject to BBC Trust approval. If the proposals are approved, the partners would form a new joint venture to develop the technical specification for devices with standards body the Digital Television Group (DTG), create and market a new consumer brand, build a common user experience, and build the technology platform.

Converging broadcast with broadband, the new platform would bring together linear TV and internet-based applications – creating an upgrade for the UK’s existing free-to-air TV platforms Freeview and Freesat, and giving TV audiences open access to a wide range of internet-based services.

Project Canvas programme director, Richard Halton, said:

"Internet-connectivity is going to have a transformational effect on TV. By seamlessly converging broadband and broadcast content, project canvas can help secure the future of free-to-air broadcasting and create an open platform that gives online services a route to the TV set.

The potential for innovation goes far beyond bringing video-on-demand to the TV set and there’s a huge opportunity for a wide range of new commercial models to thrive. We always wanted all the UK’s public service broadcasters and at least two ISPs to be involved in the venture at launch, so we’re delighted that Channel 4 and Talk Talk have joined the project.

Today we’re inviting any further expressions of interest from other companies to join the venture. We hope that any other businesses that share a similar vision for internet-connected TV will want to be a part of this story."

Eagled eyed gadget lovers will of course have noted that it is already possible to buy Internet connected TV's and Set-Top-Boxes, which make use of the customer’s existing broadband ISP connection to deliver YouTube and similar services onto a bigger screen. However these early devices often lack standards, do not have all the necessary content sharing agreements in place and some are frankly rather weak.
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