Project Canvas manufacturers revealed

Humax's Freeview HD box - will Canvas effort be similar?
Humax's Freeview HD box - will Canvas effort be similar?

Project Canvas' Richard Halton has revealed a list of manufacturers that are keen to make set-top boxes for the BBC-backed IPTV collaboration - with some major names conspicuous in their absence.

Although LG and Humax are numbered among the list given out by Halton, many will point to the names that are not being bandied around as an important factor.

The likes of Sony have already criticised the project in the past – believing that the user experience for IPTV connected boxes should be set by the manufacturer and not the consortium – which consists of broadcasters, BT and Talk Talk.

DTG revelation

Halton told the DTG summit that "Cisco, Humax, Technicolor, LG, Sagem, Amino, TVOnics and others" were keen to bring out Canvas boxes.

The BBC has been open in its desire to see these first wave boxes appear by Christmas 2010, although it remains to be seen whether that target could be hit, with the BBC Trust still asking for feedback despite granting a provisional approval.

Halton recently expressed his hope that a commercial app platform would spring from Canvas, with barriers being broken down by the lack of a commercial relationship between Canvas and content providers.

"We are hugely excited by the opportunity of the Canvas open platform hosting apps from a wide range of content providers," Halton told IPTV News.

"There will be no commercial relationship between Canvas & content providers, breaking down the barriers to entry that have traditionally existed to gaining access to the TV screen, providing content producers with a host of exciting creative & public service opportunities."

Virgin Media criticism

The furore around Canvas is not dying down, however, with Sky's opposition being made abundantly clear and cable giant Virgin Media also criticising the project.

"If Project Canvas has a set of genuinely open, technology-neutral standards, then it has the potential to inject a much needed momentum into the UK's digital economy, CEO Neil Berkett told the Telegraph.

"But if these standards are contingent on the adoption of a single branded interface, controlled by the BBC and its partners, then Canvas will significantly distort the market, restrict consumer choice and chill private sector investment."

"The BBC Trust's consultation has been a shameless whitewash that contravenes almost every principle of good regulation."

"The BBC Trust has stubbornly ignored all requests to address our concerns by imposing safeguards to prevent the BBC emerging as de facto gatekeeper of the digital world. This is a blatant demonstration that the Trust is incapable of regulating the BBC's activities in an objective way."

"The story of the Trust's scrutiny of Canvas is one of a governing body going beyond its authority, expertise, and competence."

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.