And the BBC will run all of this?

Sort of. The BBC (and original partners BT and ITV) has got frustrated by the lack of progress made by the consumer electronics industry in coming up with a unified standard for IPTV – mainly because every manufacturer wants to put its own design into what and how content is got at by the user.

The BBC believes that it can continue its impressive track record of innovation over the last century, and that it is in a unique position to act as a rallying point for major manufacturers.

"Why is the BBC developing this?" asked Huggers. "I think the iPlayer has shown us with five million unique users a week and hundreds of millions of streamed shows that consumers are super hungry for on demand content.

The bbc iplayer - will feature in project canvas

BBC IPLAYER: Look and feel being proposed for Canvas is very similar

Sounds great, so why are there objections?

Major manufacturers are a little miffed that the BBC hasn't left them to come to some point of accord – allowing them to put their own look and feel on IPTV. They argue that nobody decides what buttons to put on TV remotes, or what their TV electronic programme guides look like, so why should the BBC promote itself to be in charge of IPTV?

So Sony, for instance, will probably be happier if they could use its Cross Media Bar (XMB) for accessing the data, whereas Panasonic would like to use its own user interface, as would JVC and Humax and a host of others.

There are also concerns about the fact that a lot of focus is on making Project Canvas set-top boxes rather than TVs with integrated IPTV tuners.

But perhaps the key fear is that the BBC will push through a set of standards for the UK that will not match up to what the rest of the world is doing, meaning major manufacturers could ignore Canvas, or be forced to make UK specific set-top boxes rather than a global standard and the mass production that brings.

"It's very UK specific and that will drive up price," explains Sony UK CEO Steven Dowdle. "It's good for broadcasters, but for manufacturers, retailers and customers I'm not so sure.

"We have to see how we can integrate into a world open standard and have that certainty that we can communicate to our consumers and drive opportunities."