BBC reveals Project Canvas promo

BBC - pushing the Project Canvas idea
BBC - pushing the Project Canvas idea

The BBC's Erik Huggers has presented the tech world with a glimpse of how Project Canvas may be advertised to the general public, and TechRadar can bring you the transcript of the early advert for the IPTV service.

Huggers, Director of Future Media and Technology at the BBC and the man responsible for the Project Canvas – which has yet to be ratified by the BBC Trust – introduced the short film at the Intellect Consumer Electronics conference.

Canvas is the BBC's attempt to create a set of standards and a rallying point for IPTV, in an attempt to get the industry to steer clear of proprietary platforms and make it simpler for consumer and easier for broadcasters – although there remains some major reservations from key players like Sony in the manufacturing world.

Huggers introduced the video to the likes of Sony UK CEO Steve Dowdle, Sky's Director of Strategic Product Development Gerry O'Sullivan and Panasonic Sales Director Robert Scholes, explaining: "There's been a lot of discussion around canvas and we have a film – it's about 2-3 minutes that explains canvas much better than I could."

TechRadar was there for the film – which perhaps explains better than anything the BBC vision for Project Canvas – and what follows is the transcript.

Project Canvas film

"Once upon a time if you wanted digital TV you had three choices: you could have a large unattractive satellite dish on your roof, some men in overalls could dig up your road and lay a big cable and pipe it into your house or you could simply buy a handy little box from the shops and plug it into your TV aerial.

"If only life was still that simple. These days there's hundreds of companies offering you 'digital this', 'on-demand that' 'catch up the other'. You can watch stuff on your TV, your computer or even the palm of your hand. It's enough to put you in a right spin.

"Wouldn't it be nice if someone could simplify all this? If someone could combine the plug and go simplicity of Freeview with the choice and convenience of iPlayer all packaged in one simple easy to use service?"

Whole new digital world

The promo continues: "Well Canvas will do just that; just plug it into your telly and into your broadband and away you go. You're ready to discover a whole new world of digital TV packed with new features, new content and new ways to watch – it's a TV revolution.

"All we've taken out is the hassle. For a one off payment and no monthly subscription you'll get the Freeview TV and radio channels you know and love.

"There's catch-up TV from BBC iPlayer, 4OD and so you won't miss your favourite program again and on top of that there's a whole wealth of on-demand and archive programming to tap into.

"So whether you're after another glimpse of the dashing Mr D'Arcy, or you fancy jumping through time with Dr Who we've got it all.

"And if that wasn't enough, canvas also opens you up to a whole universe of web content – from the latest clips on YouTube to using your favourite social network to share video with friends and family – the digital world is your oyster.

"And the best thing is that you'll be seeing it all on your TV from the comfort of your favourite armchair.

"Not only that, but Canvas also lets you organise all this new digital content in a way that makes sense to you; giving you a totally personalised TV experience and changing the way you watch TV for ever.

"Canvas – liberate your TV."


It's interesting to note that the BBC is pushing the 'Freeview' aspect of Project Canvas in the promo – which could have been assembled to illustrate to the BBC Trust how the concept would be pushed to the public.

This would obviously appeal to the huge base of Freeview transcriptions, but could alienate Freesat – who have been desperate to be linked to the project from its inception.

Plus, the confusion over whether the BBC is assembling a platform, rather than merely a set of standards has not yet been diminished.

"It sounds really appealing to users, but quite restrictive to the industry," said What Satellite's editor Alex Lane, "I think both sides need to decide what it is and what they want to get out of it."

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.