12.30 Update: BSkyB has said the Digital TV Group is the appropriate forum to develop the technical standards for Project Canvas. In its final submission to the BBC Trust consultation Sky maintains the connected TV venture to be an unnecessary intervention in the market. Highlighting what it sees as the inadequacy of the Trust’s proposed conditions, Sky proposes that the BBC should develop the core specification with the wider industry through the DTG, rather than with its commercial partners. At present the BBC is only working with the DTG on the organisation’s established Connected TV specification. This would sit alongside Canvas’s own specification, currently the subject of disagreement with the DTG over the provision of key documents, and its own non-disclosure agreements.
“Such a specification would facilitate the manufacture of boxes with equivalent functionality to those anticipated in the proposals (IP enabled, with PVR and HD functionality). This would future proof the DTT platform, and do so in a way likely to foster the most competition between the widest range of manufacturers (including over the specification), helping to reduce prices below those predicted for Canvas approved devices and to maximise innovation,” reads the Sky submission.
In a statement released to Broadband TV News, the DTG said it continued to engage with the entire digital television industry in developing the core technical standards for UK connected television services using its proven model of industry contribution and consensus. “This standardisation work is progressing well and is on schedule for publication in December 2010. This open standard will form the basis of hybrid IPTV services in the UK. The DTG has received assurances from the Canvas JV that key documentation will be released to the industry via the DTG and we are working with the JV to develop a schedule for the release of this documentation”.
Sky also suggests that content from the BBC iPlayer be made available to third party platforms on a non-discriminatory basis, separate from the iPlayer, which it says would remove significant industry concern. The online version of the Sky Player currently highlights iPlayer content, but only as a clickthrough to the BBC’s own site.
Sky says the Trust should go further in exploring whether Project Canvas complies with rules on European state aid and test the loan of costs to the Canvas partners during the first year of operation.