Sky: Canvas will relaunch BT's television project

IPTV - an important next step for TV
IPTV - an important next step for TV

Sky's Chief Operating Officer Mike Darcey has suggested that Project Canvas is a mechanism for relaunching BT's television service, as he fleshed out the company's objection to the IPTV service.

With the BBC Trust already granting provisional approval, Sky is keen to point out that it is not merely standing in the way of IPTV, but that it has firm and clear reasons for its objection to Project Canvas.

In a column for the Guardian, Darcey explains the three principal objections to the BBC-led project – but saves his most damning critique for the conclusion.

Far beyond...

"The effects of that distortion could spread far beyond the original purpose of the licence fee," writes Darcey.

"BT, one of the UK's biggest companies, could well become one of the great beneficiaries of the BBC's investment in Canvas.

"When the BBC Trust comes to consider its decision, it must recognise that helping BT to relaunch its TV service is not the right way to use the licence fee."

Anti-choice and anti-innovation

The other objections to Canvas have been aired several times, and certainly not just by Sky – with manufacturers joining the likes of Virgin Media in objecting.

"First of all, industry will deliver common standards for broadband video delivery whether Canvas goes ahead or not," states Darcey.

"…All sections of the industry, as well as consumers, would be better served if a single standard is developed through the DTG, giving all content providers – free and pay – certainty over key issues such as compatibility and digital rights management.

"Second, far from being a positive development, the desire of the Canvas partners to impose an identical user interface on all compliant devices is anti-choice and anti-innovation.

"The reality is that consumers benefit when companies seek to differentiate their products, because that's what drives improvement. Let's not forget, the benefits of this horizontal approach, with multiple competing user interfaces, have helped Freeview reach many of millions of households in recent years.

"And third, internet-connected TV is already happening and will continue to spread over time as consumer demand grows in response to innovation by the market. The danger here is that Canvas deters commercial players from launching new products and services that would compete with a BBC-backed platform."

The objections certainly merit discussion, but with provisional backing already in place, it is clear that some companies stand to benefit more than others should the final rubber stamp be applied.

Via The Guardian

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.