bbc trust logo
Project Canvas proposal would set up an open standard for HD and SD TV content from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five

The BBC Trust has opened to public consultation the BBC's Project Canvas, designed to provide an open standard for delivering TV over the internet (IPTV) and set-top boxes able to access on-demand content online and deliver it to home TVs.

The £6m Project Canvas covers standards set by the BBC, ITV and BT, which would allow third-party manufacturers to design and build boxes able to receive internet content.

That content would come from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five, as well as other broadcasters.

The proposal, which will now be examined by the BBC Trust to ensure it meets the corporation's public service broadcasting remit, could see boxes selling for between £100 and £200 at launch next year. These would interface between an existing broadband connection and the TV, to provide both live and on-demand programming.

More after the break

Among the standards set by the proposal are:

- That the system should be HD-ready, so services such as the BBC HD channel can be accessed- An expectation that the devices will have onboard storage, allowing PVR (personal video recorder) functionality- An EPG, allowing rapid access to both 'live' and on-demand material.

Stumbling blocks to be overcome, apart from that public value test, will include the implications of the demand placed by such devices on the existing broadband provision in the UK.

Among the suggestions are limitations on the amount of HD content available for live viewing, and the adoption of downloading for subsequent viewing, such as the overnight downloads model.

Originally discussed in the context of HD Freeview services, this would make use of periods when there is less traffic on the broadband network.

You can read more about the proposals, and submit your own opinions, at the BBC Trust website.