Arqiva, a communications company which provides infrastructure for broadcast television transmission, has today joined Project Canvas as a 7th partner alongside the BBC, BT, Channel 4, Five, ITV and TalkTalk. Arqiva will take an equal stake and provide equal funding. Project Canvas is a project to develop an open standards based set top box which will allow users to watch on-demand TV distributed over the Internet on their television.
The interesting snippet that comes from this is that Project Kangaroo was sold off and bought by Arqiva who have continued development and rebranded it SeeSaw. So with Arqiva joining Canvas, this may mean that Kangaroo and its original development does infact live on somewhat within the same lines that it was originally intended.
"We are delighted to become a partner in Project Canvas. Arqiva has a long history in supporting free-to-air broadcasting as a shareholder in Freeview and provider of digital terrestrial television networks, so it is a natural step for us to take a partner role in Canvas.
The approach of Canvas as an open platform based on common technical standards is one we fully support and are looking to encourage through standards bodies, particularly via the UK's Digital Television Group ('DTG')."Rob Hamlin, (Strategic Development Director) Arqiva Terrestrial Broadcast
Canvas also submitted last week analysis to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to clarify that the joint venture does not constitute a merger under the Enterprises Act 2002. The OFT will now examine Canvas, giving rival companies a chance to air their concerns before competition authorities. Perhaps the reason for submitting this was to try and subvert being blocked by the competition commission as happened with Project Kangaroo. Kangaroo joining Canvas may add more fuel to the fire of those against Canvas. Last week, BSkyB wrote to the Guardian to clarify their position on why they are against Canvas.
"To be clear, we're against neither the growth of online video nor the development of common standards. But what we do stand firmly against is the use of public money in a way that distorts fair competition or undermines the scope for other innovative services to emerge in the future. Anyone looking at the Canvas proposals has to consider the consequences – whether intended or unintended – of diverting part of the licence fee away from programme-making and into proprietary platform development instead."Mike Darcey, (COO) BSkyB
Virgin Media are also known to be somewhat against Project Canvas and getting approval from the OFT or the Competition Commission would help Canvas proceed with a clean conscience.