Digital TV Group speaks out over Project Canvas

The Digital TV Group has slagged off the BBC’s next generation telly venture called Project Canvas, saying there’s a lack of clarity and engagement with the rest of the industry.

The trade group spoke out after The BBC Trust said in December that would give the BBC permission to go ahead with Canvas but wanted the views of the rest of the industry before making a final decision. However the BBC Trust’s final consultation closed on Tuesday.

Project Canvas, which is being lead by the BBC, but also involves BT and ITV, plans to release a £200 set-top box later this year to bring internet services – from the the likes of the BBC, Amazon and NHS Direct – to the television set.

The DTG said that there is “widespread concern” that several important set top box amnufacturers and technology providers were not involved in the project. It also says that the consortium who are backing and creating the IPTV project failed to create an open, industry-wide technology standard for the service, which it promised that it would.

“Feedback… indicates that the consensus among our members is that only a mandatory requirement for the Canvas JV to engage with industry to deliver an agreed specification can achieve widespread market success and represent the best interests of the UK consumers and TV licence fee payers,” the DTG told the BBC Trust.

Canvas said in a statement to the FT: “We intend to continue our extensive work with the DTG’s connected TV working group with a view to better understand the reasons why the DTG have raised these concerns in this way, and work to resolve any concerns.”

It added: “We have been encouraged by the wide range of consumer electronics companies who have expressed an interest in manufacturing canvas-compliant devices.”

The DTG represents over 100 companies including Samsung, Sony, Pace and Dixons.