European Broadcasters Propose Their Own Project Canvas

The BBC’s proposed Project Canvas effort to standardise the delivery of living room live and on-demand broadband TV has now got a continental counterpart of sorts.

A consortium comprising Canal+, France Televisions and TF1, Germany’s Institut fur Rundfunktechnik research centre, satellite operator SES ASTRA and software makers Ant and OpenTV have formed their own “Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV” (HbbTV) group, aimed at “harmonising the broadcast and broadband delivery of news, information and entertainment to the end consumer through TVs and set-top boxes with an optional web connection”. Release.

While those members are continental and Canvas is initially a UK effort, it’s bigger than that. Last month’s updated Canvas specification said it wanted to “bring a globally scalable specification to the market in the UK in 2010″. So there’s an opportunity here to either compete or collaborate.

Ant CEO Simon Woodward tells C21: “HbbTV does address many of the same issues as Canvas and, therefore, I think it’s something that the BBC should take notice of and consider in detail because it may provide a significant part of the solution they need ready-made.”

HbbTV’s proposed services include “catch-up TV, video on demand, interactive advertising, personalisation, voting, games and social networking as well as programme-related services such as digital text and EPGs”. Canvas is intended mainly to accompany Freeview sets, but HbbTV is planning “for all broadcasting technologies including satellite, cable and terrestrial networks”. HbbTV applications from broadcasters will be demoed at Berlin’s IFA show from September 4.