Project Canvas has announced that Channel 4 and, significantly, internet service provider TalkTalk have signed up to the connected TV project. The six partners, which also include BBC, ITV, Five and BT, will now seek intentions of interest from other potential partners.Carphone Warehouse-owned TalkTalk is the second ISP to join the partnership. Its 24.6% marketshare puts it just one percentage point behind BT, and just ahead of Virgin Media. “We’ve led the way in making the internet accessible by championing value and building the most extensive network. We’re pleased to support Project Canvas and believe that it will be of great interest to our 4 million customers,” commented Max Alexander, Senior Director, TV at TalkTalk.
Although Canvas has been open to discussions with other parties since its launch in February 2009, this is the first time that expressions of interest have been sought from new companies that want to join the venture. Any new partner would have an equal share in the project that is looking to provide a next generation IPTV-enabled platform for both Freeview and Freesat viewers.
“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,” said Project Canvas programme director Richard Halton. “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 TalkTalk have joined the project”
The standard itself will be developed with the Digital TV Group (DTG), potentially with an eye on developments with Europe’s HbbTV project, and attempts by the EBU to harmonise hybrid broadcast technology.
Stung by initial criticisms of a lack of openness, Project Canvas is now attempting to build its place in the industry, recently launching a dedicated website. However, the BBC’s involvement still rests on a decision from its regulatory body, the BBC Trust.