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Project Canvas: DTG expresses concerns over standard

The Digital TV Group (DTG), the standards organisation that represents over 100 TV companies, believes that the UK’s proposed on-demand service Project Canvas is failing to engage with the industry and has not been properly defined.

In a submission to the BBC Trust as part of its consultation on Project Canvas, the DTG expressed concerns that it remains unclear whether the service “is a platform, service, user interface or receiver specification”.

It said its members also believe the service’s partners – the BBC, ITV, Channel Four, Five, BT and TalkTalk – are developing standards that do not take set-top box vendors, TV manufacturers and other key players into account. One of the cornerstones of the joint-venture has been to develop an open specification in consultation with the wider industry. However, the DTG, which represents companies including Samsung, Sony, Pace, Freeview, BSkyB and retailer Dixons, has expressed concerns that Project Canvas and its preferred technology partners are developing a separate standard.

“The Canvas project is described in the consultation document as a ‘standards based open environment’, however feedback the DTG has received from our membership suggests that the Canvas specification has not been developed in conjunction with industry and that the draft specification has not been made widely available to manufacturers for consultation or information,” the DTG said. “There remains widespread concern in the industry that there is a parallel process in place with a Canvas specification being developed by the joint venture and its innovation partners separately from, and regardless of, the DTG’s Connected TV specification work,” it added.

The organisation has put forward a number of recommendations for the Trust to consider, including getting more stakeholders to contribute to the Canvas specifications, whether the development of Canvas could delay the roll-out of HD services on Freeview and Freesat platforms, and whether the service will enable manufacturers to change the look and feel of the EPG.