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BBC Trust begins consideration of IPTV proposal

The BBC Trust Feb. 26 opened the BBC Executive’s proposal to develop a joint venture partnership to enable IPTV delivery to public comment.

The proposal, known as Project Canvas, would allow viewers to watch on-demand services, such as the BBC iPlayer and other Internet content, via TV sets.

The BBC Executive has applied to the trust for permission to form a joint venture partnership that would set and promote a common standard for delivering on-demand TV and other Internet content through a broadband connected device, such as a set-top box. The BBC would not be involved in the manufacture or distribution of the equipment.

The trust will decide whether to approve the proposals after a thorough examination, which will include two public comment periods. A decision is expected on or before July 24.

The proposal calls for devices that would:

  • continue to allow delivery of digital BBC and other services without a monthly subscription via Freeview or Freesat
  • be HD ready
  • be offered with storage to support PVR functions
  • have an Internet connection to access on-demand services, like BBC iPlayer
  • support an electronic program guide

Initial devices would have an estimated consumer price of about $138-$275 and would launch in 2010. For the on-demand portion, viewers would have to arrange for their own broadband Internet service.

The BBC Trust published a timetable it expects to meet in making its decision, which shows:

  • Feb. 26: Start of first consultation
  • April 17: Close of first consultation
  • June 8: Trust publishes emerging conclusions and second consultation begins
  • June 22: Second consultation period closes
  • July 24: Trust publishes final decision