Ashley Highfield – one of the senior figures behind the BBC's iPlayer and now MD of Microsoft in the UK – has told TechRadar that Project Canvas is "potentially a good thing for the television industry".

Project Canvas is a BBC-led consortium that aims to bring a set of standards, marketing and branding to IPTV, in what many commentators are suggesting could do for the technology what Freeview did for digital television, and turn it into a mainstream proposition.

Although Canvas has been provisionally green-lighted by the BBC Trust, it remains mired in controversy with Sky foremost in a list of critics who believe that the BBC should not be involved.

The next generation

Highfield believes that IP to the TV is very much a key progression for UK television, but also insisted that all players must benefit from the controversial project.

"I don't want to go too much into detail on Canvas but potentially it is a good thing for the industry," said Highfield.

"The [BBC] Trust has got its work cut out to make sure that all players are able to benefit from driving IP to the TV.

"It's something that from my time at the BBC I've always thought of as the next generation of TV sets of and the future of Freeview and it was something to help bring about.

"That's really all that I can say, Microsoft has a good relationship with the likes of Sky and Virgin Media we are absolutely not partisan."