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Canvas Verdict Due At 10am On Tuesday

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The BBC Trust says it will publish a “provisional” conclusion on the BBC’s proposed Project Canvas at 10am GMT on Tuesday. This will include the market impact assessment (MIA) and public value assessment (PVA) which it has conducted.

Someone – perhaps at the BBC itself? – is confident. An FT source says the trust told the BBC executive last week that Canvas would be green-lighted, subject to “minor modifications” that are “not too problematic”.

Guardian.co.uk follows the same line, but with stronger pessimism: “There have been discussions between Project Canvas’s backers about whether, if the BBC is too hamstrung to launch an effective service, the other partners should forge ahead without the corporation.”

Project Canvas is the BBC’s proposal to harmonise VOD access on connected TVs; it thinks varying methods will fragment the viewer experience. It’s conceived as a free alternative to pay-TV VOD provision, so has riled Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED) and Sky, but the BBC has promised pay-TV functionality and invited them aboard. Channel 4 and TalkTalk last week joined BBC, ITV (LSE: ITV) and BT (NYSE: BT) as partners. It will be a JV with an equal voting split.

The timetable has been put back because the original proposal wasn’t detailed enough. Canvas-enabled TVs are now expected to be on sale from late 2010, meaning they miss the opportunity to piggyback a marketing campaign for Freeview HD next year. paidContent:UK understands BT has already been testing a set-top box with Canvas-type features.

Ahead of the verdict, here are links to our key Canvas coverage…

VOD Arm