Feeds

OFT won't block BBC's über set top box

Green light for Canvas

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

When Microsoft attempted to nobble an open industry technical standard to its own ends, there was a loud outcry. But what happens when a cartel of broadcasters try to do just that? Perhaps because the BBC is leading the charge, a popular uprising is nowhere to be found.

The Office of Fair Trading today confirmed it will not stand in the way of Project Canvas, because it does not have the jurisdiction to intervene. Canvas is the über-set top box, described as "iPlayer in hardware", designed by the UK's terrestrial broadcasters, along with Carphone Warehouse and mast monopoly Arqiva.

Third party hardware companies will manufacture Canvas-compliant boxes, the Canvas founders have promised not to create custom content for it, build the boxes, or act as an ISP. The alliance has enormous market power, with the old guard in charge of the all-important EPG (Electronic Program Guide), which determines the placement and subsequent popularity of material. Not surprisingly, Virgin and Sky lodged a complaint with the OFT.

The regulator said that because the Canvas partners "do not intend to transfer an existing business into the JV… the notified proposals do not give rise to a merger qualifying for substantive investigation by the OFT". Other anti-competitive legislation may yet apply, it said.

Earlier this year Virgin Media chief Neil Berkett said the BBC would be the "de facto gatekeeper" of the digital world.

The problem? There's already an industry standards body for British digital TV, and the BBC is a member - along with Pace, Microsoft and Sky. The DTG (Digital TV Group) publishes the "D Book", the product it says of 4,000 man hours of work developing detailed technical specifications for digital broadcasting standards. The Sixth Edition of the D Book came out in March.

By contrast, Canvas specifications are © of the BBC. The DTG asked the BBC Trust this year to release from BBC copyright crucial parts of the Canvas spec including the presentation engine, metadata, IP content delivery and many other key parts of the spec.

Standards schmandards: Canvas controls all the important bits

Canvas now awaits BBC Trust approval. Nominally the voice of the viewer, the Trust is unlikely to snub the opportunity to give the Corporation the gatekeeper role it believes is its own by right.

You can read the DTG's views on Canvas here (332kb pdf).

It's strange how industry standards are seen as sacred, except when you need to screw a competitor you don't like. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Forget silly privacy worries - help biometrics firms make MILLIONS
Beancounter reckons dabs-scanning tech is the next big moneypit
Microsoft's Office Delve wants work to be more like being on Facebook
Office Graph, social features for Office 365 going public
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.