Industry reponds to OFT Project Canvas ruling
19th May 2010 | 15:50
BBC, BT, Humax and Virgin Media all comment
The OFT's decision that Project Canvas does not constitute a merger has moved the IPTV project a step further on, and with battle lines already drawn the ruling has been greeted with a mixed bag of responses.
The BBC and BT – joint venture partners along with Talk Talk, Arqiva, Channel 4, ITV and Five – welcomed the decision, with both offering up a comment from Richard Halton.
"The Project Canvas partners welcome the decision from the OFT, which confirms our analysis and sets the scene for the final stage of the regulatory process," said Project Canvas director Richard Halton
"Project Canvas aims to create an open platform that delivers a connected future for free-to-air TV and a competitive market for internet connected TV services in the UK.
"The Project Canvas partners are committed to achieving that aim."
Humax has already been confirmed as a company that will look to manufacture Project Canvas approved set-top boxes and the company's Commercial Director Graham said:"The announcement today from the Office of Fair Trading regarding Project Canvas is great news for the digital television industry as a whole.
"Humax believes that this service will enable further growth in the digital TV market - giving the UK population a greater range of content, more choice over how they watch it and ultimately more control over their viewing.
"With the leading UK broadcasters behind Canvas it will generate good exposure and acceptance from consumers, in much the same way as on-demand services such as BBC iPlayer and ITV Player.
"The value of the Project Canvas initiative will only grow and strengthen as even more content from strong brands is introduced.
"Providing a common standard is a positive step that will guarantee the viewer a quality service that is reflective of UK broadcasting standards, delivered on a platform with a trusted name.
"It will also guarantee a viewing experience that is consistent regardless of the hardware or device being used to access the content."
However, TechRadar also spoke to Virgin Media, who have made it clear that they have reservations with the amount of control that Canvas wants over the user experience.
"As they stand, the Canvas proposals risk severely restricting competition and innovation in the UK's digital media landscape," a spokesperson for the company said.
What Satellite and Digital TV editor Alex Lane told TechRadar: "With this hurdle cleared, Project Canvas is on target to open up on-demand TV and services to the public just as Freeview did for multichannel and Freesat for HD."
TechRadar has also asked for comment from Sky and 3View.
More comments to follow