Set top boxes for Project Canvas, the IP catch-up TV initiative from the BBC, ITV, Five and BT, are scheduled to be available in shops by December of next year. Richard Halton, IPTV programme director at the BBC, confirmed that, barring regulatory problems, the first Project Canvas set-top products “will be on sale by Christmas 2010”.
Halton also confirmed talks were underway with a number of content providers and potential commercial partners for the initiative, including LoveFilm, Blinkbox and the UK Film Council.
Project Canvas, described as a “free-to-air platform with a wide range of content which plugs and plays with any ISP”, is an open-platform model and will allow manufacturers to create their own set-top boxes that plug directly into the internet.
The initiative is waiting for the green light from the BBC Trust when it publishes its provisional findings later this autumn.
If approved, the first wave of set-top boxes are expected to cost between £100 (E110) and £200 and will include a common EPG that would allow users to flick freely between scheduled and on-demand programming.