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Virgin to challenge Project Canvas with complaint to Ofcom
Wednesday 14 July 2010 14:09:09 by John Hunt

Virgin Media are likely to file a formal complaint against Project Canvas with Ofcom according to information in The Times. The company believes that Canvas is anti-competitive and will be asking for a full market impact assessment. Virgin aren't the only company to speak out against Project Canvas with Sky previously saying they were against the use of public money for things like this which will distort the market.

"It's disappointing that what started with seemingly positive intentions has developed into something which wants to dictate how we all watch TV. The BBC Trust has explicitly admitted Project Canvas will hamper innovation and so damage competition. Companies of all sizes and from so many affected industries have expressed their concerns but, to date, these have been summarily dismissed."

Virgin Media spokesperson speaking to Broadband TV News

The news of the Virgin challenge comes following information that Orange are to replace Five as a partner to Project Canvas. Their joining would be interesting particularly as Orange were looking at a purchase of Project Kangaroo, the joint venture to develop a web-based version of iPlayer involving all terrestrial channels that got vetoed by the competition commission. Kangaroo was eventually sold to Arqiva who are a current partner in Project Canvas and are likely to bring their SeeSaw platform and content to the table, which may then make it available to Orange in a roundabout way.

Other Canvas news sees rumour that Kip Meek is slated to become the chairman of Project Canvas early next year before the service goes live, although The Register question his involvement due to his directorship of Phorm which they believe Canvas should ask him to give up before he takes the role.

Comments

Posted by otester over 6 years ago
Of course they're going to, big duopolies (Sky+VM) hate competition.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
:) Also a bit rich complaining it will dictate how we all watch TV... Errrrr look at bit closer to home eh
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
They and Sky have every right to complain seeing as public money will be used for project canvas, whether people want it or not..... If you dont want Sky or Virgin dont pay for it, chances are you will in some way pay for project canvas though. Im also against the joke which is project canvas, its nothing more than an attempt to get people to pay for stuff which is currently free (excluding TV license obviously).
Posted by csimon over 6 years ago
@CARPETBURN
As I understand it, Canvas is not a product but a platform, allowing any broadcaster to put on any content they choose, whether it's free or pay content. It's actually an IPTV standard to allow a consistent delivery of IPTV across the UK. If it was left to private companies we'd have a mishmash of standards and you'd have to pay for access to it and you'd have one company blocking access to another company's standard, etc etc... What Virgin and Sky are objecting to is that they won't be allowed to enter the market first with their proprietary systems and lock everyone into them.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Well I'd rather some of the TV licence goes towards this than lining pockets of wasters like Jonathan Ross :)
Posted by TGVrecord over 6 years ago
I thought that the BBC are only contributing a share towards the Canvas project much in the same way they contribute to Freesat. I dare say they also contribute towards the terrestrial transmitter network. I am not surprised Virgin is now against Canvas because Sky have just purchased Virgin!

I also wonder if Carpetburn gets his views from the Sun newspaper?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
Freesat is jointly owned by the BBC and ITV as a MEANS of broadcasting FREE TO AIR TV.

Project canvass on the other hand Users will always be able to access Canvas free-to-air, though they may be charged for additional pay services that third parties might choose to provide via the Canvas platform, for example video on demand services, AS WELL AS THE BROADBAND SUBSCRIPTION FEES......

It needs looking at again by the Office of Fair Trading now both BT and Orange are involved to make sure the joint venture does not constitute a qualifying merger under the Enterprise Act 2002....... CONT.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago

"I also wonder if Carpetburn gets his views from the Sun newspaper? "

Pffft hardly atleast i know the relevancy of the laws that need to be looked at involving this.... If im a Sun reader you must read News of the World.
Posted by TGVrecord over 6 years ago
"Project canvass on the other hand Users will always be able to access Canvas free-to-air, though they may be charged for additional pay services that third parties might choose to provide via the Canvas platform," Sounds similar to Freeview where some services are only available via subscription.

I don't buy the Sun, News of the World or the Times, but I have read discarded copies and they always take every opportunity to knock the BBC.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
Oh yes, preventing subscription services on FreeSat was a good move wasn't it? The BBC refused to let them use a viewing card and as a result Freesat only supports FTA broadcasts. As a result the service is hamstrung to whatever channels can be shoe-horned onto the ageing and overcrowded Astra 2D.

Freesat may have more channels than Freeview but the extra channels are dross and crap. What it doesn't have are things like Channel 4HD and Quest. It could probably also have had Virgin and Sky 3 although those are part of Sky packages so probably not.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
(cont'd) just to explain the latter. They are on Freeview so perhaps could have been on FreeSat with a little arm-twisting.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
So anyway that's Freesat for you. When Freeview HD gets going there will be less HD on FreeSat than Freeview confirming it's position as 'runt of the litter'. A sad situation given how much more bandwidth satellite broadcasting has available compared to Freeview.

If only it used a viewing card it could include channels broadcast from Eurobird.
Posted by UKNetizen over 6 years ago
@TGVrecord Sky haven't bought Virgin Media, they bought their wholly owned TV channels and renamed the company that runs them Living TV.

One of VM's major selling points is a decent VOD system (acutally worth paying for, IMO), so they will naturally be opposed to an open platform that could attract their content suppliers away to a greater potential audience. Just like Sky, they will pay lip service to being pro-competition.
Posted by TGVrecord over 6 years ago
I don't think that Andrue negative comments on Freesat should go unchallenged. Whilst he points out that Freeview will shortly have more HD channels than Freesat this may only be up until 2013 when more narrow beam capacity becomes available on satellite and there is a significant increase in FTA HD channels. It is unlikely that terrestrial TV will be able to match Freesat as its bandwidth is limited.

Posted by TGVrecord over 6 years ago
I think that Freesats future is assured because TV coverage by Freeview cannot be delivered to 100% of the country. My home is one of those properties to which Freeview reception is poor and I understand that a number of repeater transmitters such as I am tuned to will not offer the HD channels even on the 2012 switch over.
Posted by tedsloan over 6 years ago
What makes me angry with VIRGIN MEDIA is that they have made no effort to complete the work they abandoned here almost six years ago under ntl. Of the 50 houses in this Development they failed to finish the 13 left in my cul-de-sac. Instead of moaning about CANVAS they should join ranks with them and not sit on the outside like a pampered brat.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"Sounds similar to Freeview where some services are only available via subscription."

What services would they be? I know of no subscription based freeview services. Oh and Sky havent bought Virgin... Wrong 3 times in a row, congrats.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
@TGVrecord:Well you are the kind of person that Freesat was originally aimed at. When it was created it was only ever intended to fill in a few DSO not-spots. It's just that they had an opportunity to be better and IMO they've squandered it.

I've also yet to see any concrete proof of more narrow beam capacity coming online. We already know that Astra 2D is coming to the end of its life so a 2013 launch of another narrow bird could just be its replacement.
Posted by TGVrecord over 6 years ago
Carpetburn do your homework. There are subscription services available on the Freeview platform what about G.O.L.D.

I suppose my biggest mistake has been to feed trolls like you!
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
Launching a narrow beam satellite is generally a bad thing. I've heard that Astra 2D was an accident and the only reason it's in use is that Sky figured out something to do with it.

NB reduces the value of a satellite. If you were a satellite operator and had the chance to put another bird at 28.2 East would you:

a)Go for one that covers most of western Europe potentially serving several hundred million people.
b)Go for one that only covers 60 million people.

I hope you're right though. I use Freesat to backup my Sky box and I really wish I could use it for more stuff.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"Carpetburn do your homework. There are subscription services available on the Freeview platform what about G.O.L.D.

I suppose my biggest mistake has been to feed trolls like you!"

G.O.L.D is a TopupTV channel different company to Freeview entirely (thats why it isnt on other freeview platforms like BT vision)... Your biggest mistake is attempting to think. There are no Freeview based subscription channels.
Posted by TGVrecord over 6 years ago
Carpetburn you have form as a troll. I'm sure many would see top up as a subscription. You've got to pay to watch!
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
Topuptv is not freeview. The freeview platform has no subscription services.....
http://www.freeview.co.uk/Channels

Topuptv is a seperate service entirely and not even available through a STANDARD freeview box.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
I realise for a luddite all these new fangled TV services are confusing, so im willing to help you with further links, just say the word.
Posted by TGVrecord over 6 years ago
@ Andrue
Three new satellites Astra 2E, 2F and 2G are due to be launched from 2012 to 2014. These birds are are to be in the 28.2 degree east position and will have spot beam and pan-European beam switching capabilities. I think that will make them fairly adaptable and they will provide more capacity for both FTA and pay TV. This would allow a substantial increase in FTA HD channels.
Posted by TGVrecord over 6 years ago
@ Carpetburn

Thought you might like to read this link http://www.radioandtelly.co.uk/topuptv.html as top up is described as being on a subscription basis.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
^^^ Ill listen to the officialy freeview site i linked to, Yes topuptv is a sub service..... Topuptv is NOT part of freeview, you cant even access it with a stadard freeview box DOH!

Your link is also servely out of date, Discovery for instance isnt on freeview or topuptv and i dont think TCM is either....... My god that page is still refers to G.O.L.D as UKTV gold. QUOTE on that page if you read it....."What is Top Up TV Anytime?
Top Up TV Anytime officially launched in November 2006, and is a hard-disk based solution that uses a special set-top box"
LMAO TRY AGAIN
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
"Special set top box" It is not and never has been freeview..... Its a seperate service entirely using a box that requires different tech. (and im now off to change my keyboard batteries looking at that last post of mine).
Posted by csimon over 6 years ago
CARPETBURN is right. There are no subscription services on Freeview and, unless there is a major sea-change, never will be. Same with Freesat. The clue is in the word Free. The ambiguity occurs because TopUp TV (a pay service) is also available on DTT and, until it was converted to its Anytime format, was available on a Freeview receiver with a card slot. TopUpTV's current proprietary box can also receive Freeview.
Posted by TGVrecord over 6 years ago
To be honest I could not care if Carpetburn is right or not as he is a particularly rude individual. However I am happy to accept csimon's point that top up TV is now a separate system but my Freeview TV does have a CAM slot which at the time of purchase would allow access to channels such as GOLD etc.

In a way everyone is correct!
Posted by TGVrecord over 6 years ago
Oh by the way looking at the services on offer from TopUpTV I would not be tempted to join up to the service. Today I noticed a couple of BT channels now showing on my EPG earlier today. Must be for their new services. Also saw Quest for the first time but the signal is too weak and the picture breaks up frequently.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"To be honest I could not care if Carpetburn is right or not as he is a particularly rude individual."

Rich when you was the first person to start the insult match with your comments about which newspapers i read........ Short term memory problems as well as not comprehending what TV services gives you........ You poor very confused chap.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
If you dont like rudeness from someone, best not to be the one that starts with the direct rude remarks and then cry you get treated equally like a big girl.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
Ill raise above you though and help.... You probably cant view quest as its on Mux A which is widely known to be the weakess of the bunch, you probably have issues getting ITV3, Fiver, FiveUSA, Virgin1 and a few others. Once the full switchover occurs the Mux should be stonger.
Posted by TGVrecord over 6 years ago
Hi Carpetburn, your last post seems to be an attempt to actually be helpful rather than insulting. I not bothered that in previous posts you describe me a a big girl or a Luddite or have shouted at me. From now on I will not reply to any of your posts. I will however complain to the moderators.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"From now on I will not reply to any of your posts. I will however complain to the moderators."

Be sure to point out you started the personal insults first in this story. I speak as spoken to. Call me a troll ill call you a luddite. Say i read the Sun ill say you read News of the World. Either way im not bothered by the insults either i just gave what was dished out. The last post was an attempt to help explain your Quest issues, it was the least i could do after you realised you were wrong after half a dozen posts ;)
Posted by csimon over 6 years ago
I spoke too soon, see http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/jul/19/freesat-considers-pay-tv !! Since the pay side would be operated by a third party, I guess it would be the same situation as Freeview/TopUpTV initially, i.e. TopUpTV rides on the back of Freeview, rather than it being part of the Freeview product itself. Very ambiguous!
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
^^^ Thats Freesat NOT Freeview :D
Freeview cant do pay TV even if it wanted as the default Freeview box tech doesnt have card readers etc. It could be done maybe via a PAYG system where you enter some code or payment details into a digi interface and piggy backed on, but that information would have to be entered manually every 24 hours as the seperate stream that powers things like that, the EPG, Text services etc has to update each day due to the tiny amounts of memory freeview boxes have. (Thats one of the reasons topuptv generally has a HDD ;) )
Posted by csimon over 6 years ago
Yep, I know it's Freesat, it's just that in my original comment I said that Freeview would not go pay and it's the same with Freesat, but I've just been proved wrong! It looks like the pay services on Freesat would ride off the back of the Freesat EPG even though they're managed completely separately, like TopUpTV was originally with Freeview.
Posted by TGVrecord over 6 years ago
Ironically the standard Freesat boxes don't have CAM slot either. I would have to purchase a new box to access the new proposed pay TV channels. My Freeview Panasonic TV has a CAM slot but I don't know if the Freesat equivalent have the CAM slot?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
The services would probably require a new boox if your current model has no HDD and no card slot... There is no other way you can make a monthly subscription service work reliably.
The signal to decode the channels would then be piggy backed to the interactive/EPG/DTV (whatever they call it now) feed and decoded your end by the box/card/drive.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
Freesat was pretty poorly thought out, not only with regards to reception from satelites but the tech on the ground.... Personally i think it was rushed to compete with freeview and sky.
Posted by TGVrecord over 6 years ago
Technically a great deal of foresight was put into Freesat specifications. Every Freesat box is compliant with DVB S2 and thought was given to potential services such as BBC iPlayer and the soon to be introduced ITV player on Freesat. Actually I think it is better thought out than Freeview for which early adopters have had to replace their boxes due to changing technical standards. The introduction of Freeview has been piecemeal with many areas being poorly served. Where I live the only main terrestrial station I get on Freeview is Five!
Posted by csimon over 6 years ago
I don't think Freesat was rushed out to compete with Freeview and Sky, it had to be in place for DSO. Remember, it's all started happening already and there are many regions, including the whole of Wales, that no longer have analogue. There are many places without terrestrial reception, so until Freesat came along people had to buy into Sky or get a FTA box (can you see my 80-yr old mother trying to schedule recordings with that?), there was no public-service alternative. Freesat *had* to exist to avoid a PR disaster on DSO.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
^^^ Fair points from both of you. Personally i dont think much of Freeview or Freesat, i think so much more could had been done with both platforms. Digital TV (in the world of TV of course) is still a baby so maybe im being a bit hard on it, but personally i think inside 10 years broadcast TV will be good as dead, we will all basically watch on demand, though what tech or product will be used is anyones guess, i suspect internet integrated tvs and ondemand stuff straight from the net is likely to take over a fair bit.
Posted by TGVrecord over 6 years ago
I would not write off broadcast TV yet! TV on demand is fine if you have a decent Internet connection but the majority of folks seem to be on 2Mb connections which are hardly up the the job. Broadcast TV on the other hand is more consistent in its reach.
Posted by TGVrecord over 6 years ago
Internet Integrated TVs? Back on subject! Did someone mention Project Canvas? ;)
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
Project canvas in that regard do not stand a chance, manufacturers like sony already add internet abilities to their top end TVs. Out in the states you can get models that not only access youtube but have netflix, NBC, Hulu and so much more built in with no subscription fees... The next evolution to that is going to be Google TV. Take a look in the forums at my recent youtube 4k and leanback thread.... Stuff like that is the future not silly 1080... thats so 5+ years old ;)
Posted by TGVrecord over 6 years ago
Being innovative does not always make for success. Google TV looks interesting but the 4k capability will only be within the reach of a small percentage of the population either because of cost or technical limitations on the communications infrastructure. Project Canvas is likely to succeed with the man in street because it will be marketed by the major TV stations and equipment sellers.
Posted by TGVrecord over 6 years ago
At the moment it is fairly easy to connect a standard modern TV to the Internet via a PC with HDMI output, however it is very much the preserve of the enthusiast. I can see that there could be a market for a separate box with Internet browsing capability provided it can support Flash etc.
Posted by TGVrecord over 6 years ago
Ideally it could also offer PVR and even have built in Freeview/Freesat receivers as well.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
Latest TVs from Sony and panasonic do it all. Panasonics new 3D range (a fad IMO but not worth starting a debate on that) have built in bluray, 500gig HDD, PVR, internet access and if you are willing to pay for it a slate that acts as your remote, touch keyboard and other flashiness.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago

2k and 4k resolution is definately going to be the future. 1080 HD was once the realm of the cinema only and look whats happened, 2k and 4k which is currently used in top end cinemas (like IMAX etc) will at some point make it into home tech and 1080 will go the way SD has. 2k and 4k though is a while off (5 years atleast before just 2k gains in popularity, with maybe a stop gap between 1080 and 2k sometime before hand).
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
Project Canvas isnt worth the time.... By the time boxes are put out there in mass and at an affordable price point (remember how expensive recordable freeview boxes used to be)..... It will be dead and burried and the next new thing will be here. Even Sky know you need to push for something properly new and have tested 3D as well as odd glimpses off stuff higher than 1080p (not that any of us could appreciate the extra quality).
Posted by TGVrecord over 6 years ago
HD TV has been around for quite a few years, however it is only now beginning to make a mark. I would love to go out and buy the latest all singing and dancing TVs but I only bought an HD TV two years ago and I cannot justify another major purchase especially as the job market is so unstable. I would expect I am not the only person in that position. However I am more than satisfied with my 32" TV.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
I know what you mean TGV, but it doesnt mean they will stop with new tech...... I doubt anyone sensible will want 3DTV, especially when you look at the cost (glasses around £100 a pair... you better not have a large family) but they keep pumping them out... Sony, Panasonic, Samsung and LG all now have 3DTVs on the market... I and i bet many wont be buying one though.
Posted by TGVrecord over 6 years ago
And I would not want them to stop innovating even if I am unable to afford the new tech.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
^^^ Agreed, though i wouldnt lose any tears if they stopped bothering with 3DTV... Infact i will probably laugh when that silly fad is over.
Posted by TGVrecord over 6 years ago
Part of the reason they are producing 3D TVs is to prove they are cutting edge. It is a case of the manufacturers showing their status. A bit like the race to produce the largest screens. At the end of the day the average punter wants a TV with a good quality picture and sound.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"At the end of the day the average punter wants a TV with a good quality picture and sound."

Agree TV and Digital forms with regards to TV are a bit of the mess IMO at the moment, Project Canvas IMO is a waste of time it doesnt really offer anything new, they cant even settle on an agreed spec and they will probably want to charge subs....... Nobody with any sense will want it. 3DTV is similar except instead of subs they expect you to buy overpriced glasses... Its never going to catch on.
Posted by TGVrecord over 6 years ago
I actually had a demonstration of 3d TV yesterday and I was very impressed with it. I agree it is very expensive at the moment. The TV being £2k and a 3d Blueray player around £500, but I seem to recall early HD TVs costing around the same in the early days. Whilst I doubt if the take up will be as great as HD TV I can foresee it gaining in popularity when prices come down.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
I just dont see it happening, its overpriced, been tried before and the content is not there (a few demos on Satelite TV and you can only buy ONE 3D bluray AFAIK and thats cloudy with a chance of meatballs).

The tech (or very similar) has been here years on the PC and it never took of big time for gaming on that either, so why Sony are pushing it on the PS3 and when other companies think its the future for the home TV ive no idea.
Posted by TGVrecord over 6 years ago
Maybe because of the large number of feature films produced in 3d at the moment?

I have just looked at the John Lewis website and they offer 3D Blu-ray from three different manufacturers and two pairs of Samsung 3d glasses for £139.95 or approx £70 each. One of the offers includes a 40" 3d TV, 3d Blu-ray and two pairs of glasses for only £1,967.95.

If you are looking for a status symbol it is relatively cheap :)
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"Maybe because of the large number of feature films produced in 3d at the moment? "

Yep its a stupid product plummed at the stupid, people that dont even realise the content has to be broadcasted in 3D for the 3D TV to display anything in 3D.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
3D bluray players are not that hard to make (alot of required is just software) Its a bit different for TV though, that has to support higher refresh rates than some current LCDs, Plasmas etc, Pixels also have to change colour quicker for the tech to work. Noo doubt furture TVs will all be 3D compatible, whether any of us use it though is another thing.... Id guess NOPE!
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