Virgin Media has officially submitted a complaint to the communications regulator Ofcom, urging it to launch an investigation into Project Canvas on the grounds that it is anti-competitive, restricts consumer choice and jeopardizes the future development of next generation TV in the UK.
The cableco has released a seven-point document aimed at dispelling some of the myths it believes have sprung up around the hybrid platform.
Virgin argues that far from the stated objectives of creating a proprietary closed platform, the broadcasters should instead be competing with each other in the UK’s competitive market. It believes the combination of three of Britain’s most prominent public service broadcasters and two of the largest internet service providers will both stifle innovation and eliminate consumer choice.
The 7 Myths of Project Canvas
Project Canvas is not…
- going to provide free TV
- an open platform
- just like Freeview+
- already approved by the OFT / regulators
- going to encourage broadband take-up
- good for the UK content and creative industries
- only opposed by pay TV operators
Source: Virgin Media
“The Canvas partners have significantly exceeded their original claims to be creating a common set of open standards which could have been improved upon by others and are now intent on controlling every aspect of how people watch TV,” said a Virgin Media spokesman. “The BBC Trust has already acknowledged, but then completely ignored, the impact that Canvas will have on so many different organisations; from consumer electronics firms to software developers and enterprising new technology manufacturers to independent programme makers”.
Canvas is not neceesairily the only girl in town: both Sky and Virgin have plans to open up their receivers to at least a part of the open internet through Darwin and TiVo respectively. This will impact the 50% of the UK that enjoys pay-TV services rather than the restriction of the free-to-air channels.