BBC tries to explain Project Canvas - again

BBC: Project Canvas is open for everyone
BBC: Project Canvas is open for everyone

The Controller of BBC Platforms did his best to clear up some of the mounting confusion around Project Canvas, insisting that it will be a set of standards with a marketing campaign around it.

Despite a lengthy talk from Richard Halton on Wednesday about the BBC's IPTV box plans – which are currently the subject of a consultation by the BBC Trust – a comment about Project Canvas not being 'a standard' caused much discussion

Halton's colleague Rahul Chakkara attempted to clear up the confusion, saying that Canvas WAS going to be a set of specifications, but with a marketing system in place as well; likening the entire potential project to another BBC project - Freeview.

What Canvas is

"Let me try, in the context of the iPlayer, first talk about what Canvas is not and then what it is," said Chakkara.

"Canvas is definitely not about content creation – it isn't about content production, it isn't about content aggregation or content distribution.

"What Canvas is, is setting down some commitments… around a set of specifications that will bring certainty to both the device market and the content market. If you take what was done with Freeview we are basically extending that into the IPTV market."

"One of the key principles behind Project Canvas is that it is open for everyone."

Who controls it?

One major question around the Canvas project is who will dictate the way in which content is served, whether there will be an EPG or multiple interfaces.

Chukkara had minutes earlier insisted to TechRadar that the look and feel of the iPlayer could not be changed for anyone, "because it would be like tearing apart what BBC One is", and yet there remains doubt within the Canvas project.

"How the EPG will work is still being considered by the Trust," added Chukkara.

"Our thinking is that if you have a published transparent set of guidelines then that is open for everyone."

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.