Behind The Canvas: Box Makers Aboard, A Gauntlet Thrown To Sky

Behind the press release, the BBC Trust’s 33-page provisional approval document for Project Canvas states…

“The BBC is already working with three innovation partners (Thomson, Humax and Cisco) from the consumer device manufacturing sector on the development of the Canvas core technical specifications.” The relationships have NDAs, non-binding collaboration agreements and agreements ensuring any IP the trio develop can be shared with the industry.

paidContent:UK understands BT (NYSE: BT) has already been testing a box that may include early Canvas functionality.

But, notably, there’s not a TV maker among these names – Canvas will need the likes of global electronics manufacturers like Panasonic, Sony (NYSE: SNE) and Sharp on board if it is to be integrated on sets as well as boxes. Expected delivery of boxes is delayed from 2009 to late 2010 because the original Canvas proposal wasn’t detailed enough.

We already listed some little-known key Canvas facts in July. Here are some new points from the trust’s conclusion

What standards will be used? Canvas “will work closely with the Digital Television Group (“DTG”) for the development of the DTT-based specification”. “To the extent possible, the Canvas core technical specifications will build on existing standards such as D-Book 6.1 for digital terrestrial television.”

Pay TV standard: Canvas will let content owners charge via a conditional access (CA) method. But “a standard for CA enabled devices is highly desirable and the DTG have included this work within their plans for a Connected TV specification”.

Live TV doesn’t only mean ‘broadcast’: There’s mention of “linear channels delivered via broadband”, as well as VOD-over-broadband (how about alongside ITV1?).

Channel numbering will be the same as existing Freeview order

Likely take-up: The trust’s public value test projects 4.1 million Canvas box sales. But: “For many households, it is not yet seen as a