The Digital Television Group (DTG) has turned against Project Canvas, stating that its members are concerned that the proposed joint-venture companies have not fully engaged with the rest of the industry.
The DTG says it has spent 4000 man hours developing commercial requirements and initiating the drafting of a specification and other technical documentation for a Connected TV project, a move that was encouraged by the BBC Trust.
It had been indicated that the DTG’s Connected TV specification would be at the core of any future Canvas devices.
However, in its response to the BBC Trust’s Canvas Proposals Provisional Conclusions last week, it said:
“While our members have welcomed recent improvements in engagement by the BBC and other members of the Canvas JV, particularly in areas such as IP Delivery, feedback from our membership indicates that there remains widespread concern in the industry that there is a parallel process in place – with a Canvas specification being developed between the Canvas JV and its innovation partners separately from, and regardless of, the DTG’s Connected TV specification work.”
The Project Canvas IPTV service is a joint-venture between the BBC, ITV, C4, Five, Talk Talk and BT. It will use a set-top box to connect a TV set to the internet and will be an open platform that allows third parties to develop apps.
The BBC Trust said in December that it was likely to approve the launch of Canvas.
Before it can support Canvas, the DTG would like clarification of parts of the provisional conclusions document.
It is also particularly concerned that BBC copyrighted specification documents have not been released to industry and that there is a lack of clarity over the Intellectual Property Rights status of Canvas technical documentation.
The DTG concluded: “Feedback we have received from our membership indicates that the consensus among our members is that only a mandatory requirement for the Canvas JV to engage with industry to deliver an agreed specification can achieve widespread market success and represent the best interests of the UK consumers and TV Licence Fee payers.”
The DTG’s membership of more than 140 organisations is drawn from broadcasters, manufacturers, platform operators, retailers, trade bodies, charities and consumer groups.