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back to article BBC looks to grab internet TV market

The BBC Trust has given the go-ahead for the corporation to push on with providing internet access to the TV, via a set-top box. The project has already been heavily criticised by rival broadcasters like Sky, which of course has a decent-sized broadband internet access business of its own. But it was further bolstered last week …

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Flame

It's time for a lawsuit here!

I've had about all of the TV License funding the commercial market I can take. This is yet another abject and blatant MISUSE of the TV License for commercial benefit of ANYONE other than us poor licensees. If I want my Internet via the TV I already have more than enough technology ways to do it, I don't need Nanna Beeb puking something else out.

We as taxpayers need to file a UK-wide lawsuit and not only shutdown the misuse of the TV License here, but the abject lack of justification for this fat cash cow to continue.

I'm about to go look up on Ofcom's site how we can challenge this -- enough's a bloody enough!

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s.pam

Well, although I'll probably not make personal use of it, I think it's a great idea.

The Beeb has always been about helping to further broadcast technology, and I think allowing non-techies an easy and cheap way to watch on-demand TV from every provider is a brilliant use of the licence fee.

Sky are just p*ssed off as usual because they know that their closed system will need to be opened or will eventually die.

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re: It's time for a lawsuit here!

Yep, because 5p a year is crazy isn't it?

Estimated costs from the BBC are £6m over 5 years out of an annual income of £3.5billion per year from tv licensing. So out of your £140, you'll be paying 5p towards Canvas. And given the popularity & effectiveness of iPlayer and the other IP services that they're delivering, seems like quite good value for money. But that's just me :)

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Enlighten me...

where in the UK can I find a comprehensive internet TV service?

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Stop

It's the Labour Master Plan

Now the GCHQ is invading your privacy up to the bedroom door Brown and Company have obviously decided it wants to KNOW what YOU are watching. You can't do this over radio or television delivered by open transmission.

Then they can close down all those digital transmitters so there will be almost unlimited spectrum freed up to be sold off to all those carriers needing capacity for 3G. That should turn the budget blues around and then everyone will re-elect Brown.

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Troll

But have you seen how much Sky want!

Sky have two services, Sky Player for catch-up (aka Sky Anytime PC) and Sky Mutiroom (mostly a broadcast and catch-up service)

To watch Sky Multiroom on a PC or Xbox360, they want 10 quid a month ABOVE their normal subscription, and you have a limited number of devices you can use.

And Sky Player is a pay-per-view DRM'd system, which charges something like a quid-per-view (or in some cases, time limited download) or more for their most popular series, although some of the catch-up is offered free to Sky subscribers as long as you have already bought Sky Multiroom.

They are just complaining because Canvas likely to hurt their cash-cow, not because Canvas is not in the public interest.

The Sky HD box has EVERYTHING that is necessary to connect it to a home network and have a download service. Hard disk, OS, existing PVR software, Ethernet port, charging system, ISP for large parts of the country. But have they offered it to subscribers? No. They could have stolen a march over everybody but BT, and probably increased their customer base and had Sky HD adopted more quickly if they had, so if they are now complaining, it's their own fault for being tardy.

I'm now paying £40+ a month to Sky. If I put Multiroom and switch to their Broadband, it would go up to over £60 (non LLU area). I just feel uncomfortable putting all my eggs in one basket, especially when it is such a profit-motivated organization. Stuff that, bring on Canvas for competition.

Anyway, if it were not for the BEEB investing in some of these technologies, they would not happen. Freeview would have died a death TWICE if it had been left to commercial organizations (OnDigital and ITV Digital). And do you really think that Colour TV would have happened so quickly if the BBC had not been switched to it first. And I guess that you don't want FreeSat or FreeviewHD either, for the same reasons.

Anyway, I smell Troll, and it's not good.

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Anonymous Coward

@s pam

do you work for sky BTW ?

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FAIL

Oh dear.

You don't get out much, do you?

Here's a quote from the BBC Trust itself:

"The BBC Executive has applied to the Trust for permission to form a joint venture partnership, that would set and promote a common standard for delivering on-demand TV and other internet content through a broadband connected device such as a set top box. The BBC would not be involved in the manufacture or distribution of equipment."

Read that last sentence again. Sunk in yet? The BBC isn't going to be selling boxes. It's merely working on the *protocols*. This is something the media—especially the Murdoch bunch—need to wrap their heads around: the BBC isn't going to be making a profit from set-top boxes.

TV companies and ISPs want this because the alternative would mean different, incompatible set-top boxes for each and every home-grown system.

We've seen what happens when multiple technologies try to compete for a single stream. HD-DVD? Betamax? Minidisc? The Squarial?

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Grenade

Canvas ...... an Inferior Rip Off Clone Built on the Plagiarising of AIMODifying Content?

With regards to this BBC Canvas innovation, might I refer you to an earlier El Reg hosting .....["The Bigger Picture is AJPanese ..... Applied JOINT ProgramMING*", Posted Friday 18th December 2009 10:43 GMT ..... http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2009/12/17/nvidia_on_intel_suit/ ] ....... which is far too similar to be thought different and therefore would extraordinarily render the BBC Project a Desperate Pirating Copy with Stolen Goods?

J'accuse.

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Stop

Whoa there!

I don't know all the details about this yet, but I GUARANTEE you that this is going to be used to increase or extend the license fee. If the Beeb can claim they need the fee to support/provide internet as well as TV broadcasting, they'll screw us all for more money to waste on more remakes of Bronte and buying in Endemol pish.

Remember - It's ALL in the database!

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Er... Excuse me?

Sky are objecting because someone has found a business model better than theirs?? REALLY??!! Sky did exactly the same thing when we were stuffing dirty great Astra dishes on the sides of our houses 20 years ago!

Sky ought to realise that folk will eventually object to having to pay again and again for content. ITV, Channel 4 and C5 all provide free* content, yet Sky want a subscription for the bulk tripe and a PREMIUM to watch good stuff! Ridiculous.

I'm with the Beeb on this one. Sky can go 'premium' itself right up its 'content'!

*Yep, I know, we still have to pay a 'licence' fee, etc...

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Glad

Excellent news about this project.

I think the project will be fraught with problems caused by NewsCorp's PR department, but it's a good step forward.

Now all we need is for an IP backbone that can stand all this additional traffic.

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Pirate

Set Top Box?

Why the set top box? Can't see Sky being happy about this competition to their subscription driving Sky+ box.

Most tech savvy consumers already have internet (via a computer or console) connected directly into their TV / projector.

If the BBC want to create an umbrella one-top TV marketplace why not each broadcaster create API's to their on demand web TV services and allow web aggregators to bring this content together in browseable form?

Also when are the BBC going to do something really useful like extending iPlayer beyond being a limited 7day catchup service into a full archive TV jukebox ?

Until the media comps / rights holders fully exploit the true capabilities of the internet there will continue to be room for bittorrent pirates and legion grey market services like iraqgoals.net and the status quo where no-one gets paid will continue.

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Boffin

Why the set top box?

Because. to deliver a nice HD stream via te interwebs will require a decent processor. Yes a console can do it but at what cost? why use 60watts of console/PC processor when a dedicated chip can do it for 8watts?

In addition your Wii is standard deffininiton only. and your Xbox is not compatible with the BBC (BBC will not allow MS to charge for iPlayer as its against licening act - MS will not allow it to be free.)

so yes your PC will do it if you want to wait 2 minutes to boot it up.. or your PS3 will do it if you dont mind controlling the TV with a joystick.. (I do find that a bit awkward)

so whats the alternative? a dedicated set top box initially, and a combined media box eventually.. there are already a few PVR's with web tv services like viera cast for youtube and picasa - just not iplayer yet...

TV's now have Freeview tuners and freesat tuners there is no reason why they cant have freenet tv too eventually.

I just wish they would stop pissing about with 'not quiet good enough' technologies that are costing us the consumer money. (No the Freeview HD @8mb! - bring back proper HD!!)

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@AC

The whole point is most people aren't tech savvy, they plug it in, it works.

The API idea goes against the easy to use rule, like iPlayer it will have a common interface on all devices.

They cannot extend past 7 days due to limits imposed by the BBC trust to protect DVD sale income.

There will always be piracy due to people wanting what's not generally available.

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A national ISP?

Something of this size will make it almost impossible for the "normal" ISPs to compete. A bit like trying to run an independent motorway system alongside the one that the state provides.

Still, at least it'll make it easier for the government to control what content we are allowed to access.

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Go

How do the Beeb keep getting it right*?

Say what you like about the Beeb programmes, but their delivery is spot-on. iPlayer is simply superb and being able to use in on the PC, (old) xBox and Wii is just great. That alone is worth the £11 a month to me!

As for Sky; big, fat "Meh, who cares?" Why people want to pay £30+ a month to watch 100 channels of utter shite and still get bombarded with ads beats me. There's more than enough on the free-to-air gogglebox to not need Sky and with services like the iPlayer you can keep up on anything you happen to miss.

Like MS, Sky is seeing the writing on the wall and beginning to panic. They don't have the talent or skill to innovate, so now they are lashing out and trying to kill off emerging initiatives that threaten them. Tough luck, the world moves on Mr. Murdoch.

Adapt or die.

*Their phone system excepted, of course.

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Happy

What he just said...

You're right, the iPlayer is a first class implementation of online telly. I almost feel guilty now for not paying for a TV license (I binned Sky and live broadcast TV two years ago). The beeb are way ahead of the game here. I'd maybe even pay for a smaller license fee for online access and live Radio (as a forty something now, Radio 4,5 & 6 are excellent radio stations), but sadly the TV licensing folks aren't as innovative as the beebs techies when it comes to ways to pay.

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Go

Fingers crossed

"Project Canvas now includes the BBC, ITV, BT, Five, Channel 4 and Talk Talk. Sky is likely to vocally object"

Yep, we lost Project Kangaroo because of News Media's objections -- BBC, Channel 4, ITV having a combined iPlayer would dent their chances of getting Hulu up and running in the UK.

Project Canvas is on-demand functionality for set-top-boxes -- like Freeview and Freesat -- so I can image that New Corp's Sky will absolutely hate this too.

Dear Competition Commission: do you really want all UK IPTV owned by the Americans? What's wrong with British group and Sky sulking? I hope Project Canvas is a success, and then they rethink unified iPlayer too.

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I agree :D

Let's kill sky, it will save ITV and 4, the only program I will miss is Brainiac and they prolly buy that in anyway!

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Headmaster

Re: lawsuit

Bearing in mind that the BBC Trust is responsible for making sure that their is a return from the BBC's operations, by preventing them from doing so, you are guaranteeing the TV licence will go up, as the commercial operations (BBC WW, BBC PicPub) would be prevented from returning their profit into the pot.

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Troll

Wrong matey....

There is NO reason in the commercial marketplace to continue to prop up ANY media outlet, and that includes the Beeb. They're spending billions on stuff not in their charter -- they are so far offbase with their work, that's the point!

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WTF?

Competition

How can this be an issue for the competition people when it seems to include pretty much ALL the UK broadcasters, with Sky being the notable exception?

If it includes everyone, and (it seems) is open to more organisation to join (indeed they are ASKING for more organisations to join), then where is the competition issue?

As for Sky, they hack me off! They spend years (and lots of money) filtering off most of the sport and other stuff from free TV (so you now have to pay Sky to get pretty much any sport at all) and THEN have the bare-faced cheek to complain when someone else comes up with a potentially useful service.

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Unhappy

@ Set Top Box?

Why Set Top Box? Because New Corp's Sky strong-armed the Competition Commission into saying no to a platform similar to the one you outline.

News Corp, Disney and NBC Universal want you to use Hulu instead when it launches in UK; after all why on earth would you want an IPTV platform made by British companies rather than American ones?

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Anonymous Coward

Er

Aren't the major backers for this Cisco & Thompson on the hardware front and on the software its HTML5

So that means its American/French more than British

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Terminator

Correction to 'Fingers crossed'

News Media ... I meant News Corp. Doh!

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As long as they

don't try and start charging people a license fee for having and Internet connection. Some of us don't want or need access to the dodgy junk that the state broadcaster transmits.

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Megaphone

Ditto

I ditched my TV 18 months ago and have all the little envelopes to prove it (no matter how many times I state I do not want to watch TV).

If I start getting demands again because I have a net connection then I will ask for proof of my IP connecting and using said "service"

Even if I did want to watch then they had better upgrade my line to a decent bandwidth for free.

/rant

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Grenade

BBC programming is failing

BBC sells a lot of programming overseas but sadly the quality if falling as they cater to the lowest common denominator.

And as in common with most network broadcasting everything, except news and sports, seems to be re-runs.

Even Nat Geo and Discovery channels seem to be broadcasting more repeats than original programming.

Now they want to monopolise/dominate the viewer.

Sorry, today's BBC cannot be trusted to act with impartiality. I might be dating myself, but the last BBC Benny Hill series was destroyed when some Twit in Aunties hierarchy found Benny had signed with ITV.

The BBC is too important for it to 'go with the trend' - it should be setting/leading the way and not be everything to everyone. They should also moderate some of the utrageous payscales they use.

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Anonymous Coward

Is this not a DAB mk ii

If this was able to be viewed by by current Internet TV i would say brilliant but the fact that the auntie has had Cisco, Humax and Thompson all with there hands up her skirt and paying large wads of cash to be part of this it will stay on a set top box for a while

Also the fact that this is just a UK Standard still has the problem it will go the way of DAB. what should of happened was all partners got into to bed with a proven service Hulu and worked with them.

Now we will have 2 competing factors which is bad for the consumer

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M7S
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Unhappy

I'll need some better bandwidth first

iPlayer is denied to me at home due to poor speeds, I lug my netbook into work and download there. If they decide that most TV content will eventually go out better over the net than via terrestrial broadcasting, i'll be needing to consign my TV to the bin along with the analogue stuff currently going out of fashion.

I wouldnt mind so much but I'm still not getting the benefit of freeview either.

If they do it over the net, there should be a universal service obligation in the UK for decent speeds.

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The License Fee

You all do realise that part of the license fee has always been for the funding of the broadcast infrastructure and the work of BBC R&D in developing new broadcast technology?

Don't you?

How is this any different from the terrestrial broadcast system?

Personally I'd rather the 5p of the license fee was spend developing a joint internet delivery system that any broadcaster can use, then all of them developing different systems all based on shit like Adobe Flash.

Yay for common sense.

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Flame

Sky are out to destroy this platform

We need to have this, there needs to be a decent multi-channel platform to balance with Sky Freeview just don't cut it!

I don't understand why Sky don't just join the alliance like they did (Kinda) with Freeview, it would work well for them, they can hook people with a low cost subscription, they are out to destroy this platform and should be treated as hostile!

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WTF?

Hulu proven?

@ AC Monday 21st December 2009 13:01

Why is Hulu a proven service provider and BBC iPlayer not, or indeed any British OD over IP service? Hulu only launched in 2008 whereas iPlayer in some form or other has been running since 2005.

"the fact that this is just a UK Standard", right, so an American 'standard' is better is it?

News Corp has already stated that the plan is to charge for Hulu from 2010, yep subscription to watch programmes that were broadcast as FTA. Is is perfectly clear why they want a British consortium of FTA broadcasters with FTA IPTV services to fail, and their primary means of doing so is to complain to the regulator about 'competition'.

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About bloody time!

I'm absolutely disgusted with Sky wanting nearly £50 a month for BASIC access to their HD channels! Almost as disgusted as I was when they popped a leaflet through my door saying they'd offer a 'free'*** HD box to new customers.

I'm all for this new offering, to be honest..

*** - Free as in, if you sign up to more packages than you'd ever need/want

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I'm disgusted too..

..by your inability to do decent research or your attempt to mislead people.

Basic Sky HD means one mix+the Sky HD pack. That's less than £29pcm.

Of course it's still paying for TV which a lot of people object to. A pity they so often ignore the license fee. Also a pity they ignore they way FTx TV is dying in the UK. Too many channels chasing significantly reduced advertising revenues. It's all a bit of a mess really and I think all of them from the producers through to the broadcasters should shoulder the blame.

Still - yar boo sucks to Sky for trying to rock the boat. Their latest EPG shows how inept they are at advancing their platform. It is - barely - better than the old EPG and suffers from several glaringly stupid mistakes. Like - if you're going to let the user disable the mini-TV in the guide don't you think that stopping the sound playing would be sensible?

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FAIL

@s.pam

"We as taxpayers need to file a UK-wide lawsuit and not only shutdown the misuse of the TV License here, but the abject lack of justification for this fat cash cow to continue."

Couldn't disagree more, of all the fee's I have to pay this one is by far the best value and I'm happy to pay it.

For "justification" simply watch *any* commercial channel anywhere in the world, they pale into insignificance compared to the beeb.

Long may continue!

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Anonymous Coward

responce to this announcment ?

I Seriously doubt 'some people won't make a play to sabotage their plans, through the courts most likely. From what I see they are trying an end-game around the Beeb with alliances with ITV and BSkyB, Microsoft ??. And of course Microsoft won't allow the iPlayer on the Xbox ...

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/media/article3812487.ece

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/11/10/highfield_quits_kangaroo/

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Welcome

But will it ever work outside the UK?

I for one would welcome our new overlords if I could pay money for this box to watch my favorite BBC shows when they air in the UK, rather than having to wait a year or two for the carrier pigeons with the videotapes to make it across the Atlantic.

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Anonymous Coward

What about the network infrastructure?

If Canvas is to provide on-demand HD services via IPTV, who is going to pay for the IP network infrastructure?

Either there will need to be extensive caching in local exchanges, or there will need to be a massive expansion of UK IP backboone services. Either would need substantial investment.

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Megaphone

Aliens are coming!

The Gummint known the aliens are coming, so they are preparing to propagandise all content so that the aliens can have their hearts and minds turned to mush like the humans. Its a cuntspiracy.

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