YouView, the project formerly known as Canvas, has published the first technical requirements for the set-top boxes that will work with its open standard PSB-backed connected TV service.

So far, 14 sets of technical requirements have been made available on the YouView web site.

  • The base specification is for a Linux-based broadband network connected twin-tuner HD DVR (digital video recorder) with at least 300GB of hard disk space.
  • Support is required for MHEG-5 and a profile of W3C web technologies and, potentially, a subset of HTML-5 and CSS-3, JavaScript 1.5, AJAX and Flash 10.
  • An infrared remote control with 40 specific buttons is required, including Red, Green, Yellow and Blue colour keys.

As many as 40 organisations have expressed interest in developing compatible products.

Richard Halton, the director of Project Canvas and soon-to-be chief executive of YouView, described the response as “a great endorsement of our open approach to working with industry partners”.

However, at this stage, neither a formal developer programme nor a software development kit (SDK) have been made available and some commentators have suggested that the most controversial aspects of the specification are still to come.

Former BBC Broadcast head of interactive Dr. William Cooper, now a consultant with Informitv said: “The draft requirements specifications are reasonably extensive and relatively ambitious but lack rigor in many respects, compared to generally published broadcast or internet standards. The significant scale of the task they face will be apparent to those with experience in developing open standards and must be evident to those involved in working on the documentation.”

Further documents, including the user interface style guide and interaction principles, user interface policy and trademark licence policy, are due to be published in October.

YouView is a joint venture backed by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, BT, TalkTalk and Arqiva. It is due to launch in 2011.