BBC Canvas platform plans evade issues of Trust
The BBC has revealed more detailed plans for its proposed joint venture with ITV and BT. It is now clear that what is envisaged is a platform, rather than simply a set of standards, to support programmes delivered over both broadcast and broadband networks. The BBC Trust has published further information from its management in response to industry concerns over an alarming lack of detail in its previous proposals. Some issues have been addressed, such offering to work with industry bodies such as the Digital Television Group to establish relevant standards. Yet the astonishing scale of ambition raises as many new questions as it answers.
Arqiva buys Kangaroo to prepare for online market
Arqiva, which operates the terrestrial television transmission network in the United Kingdom, has agreed to buy the abandoned remains of the Kangaroo project, with the aim of launching its own online video platform. The joint venture of the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 was previously blocked by the Competition Commission prior to launch. Arqiva hopes to launch a service as an independent operator in a matter of months.
Freeview Australia selects MHEG-5 for interactive TV
Freeview Australia has selected MHEG-5 as the interactive television standard for free-to-air digital terrestrial television receivers that are promoted under that brand. Australia is following the United Kingdom and New Zealand in adopting MHEG-5, an open standard that dates back to the mid-nineties. While there may be benefits in learning from the experience in Britain, there are also risks following too far behind.
IP Vision FetchTV version of BBC iPlayer
A new digital video recorder is about to go on sale in the shops in Britain, offering a combination of broadcast and broadband programmes, including video-on-demand services, with no ongoing subscription. The FetchTV Smartbox has been developed by IP Vision, which is backed by the French company Netgem. Providing access to BBC iPlayer programming on the television, it appears to offer the sort of service envisaged by the BBC Canvas project.
TalkTalk considers options for Tiscali TV
Carphone Warehouse is considering the options for its television operation in the United Kingdom after its TalkTalk phone and broadband business recently completed the acquisition of Tiscali UK for £236 million. With it came the Tiscali TV service which was itself acquired from Video Networks but reportedly still has only 50,000 customers.