Virgin Media looks set to formally complain about Project Canvas to communications watchdog Ofcom, The Times reports today. Virgin believes Project Canvas, which is developing a standard framework for the delivery of IPTV services, is anti-competitive and presumably fears it will dissuade punters from subscribing to the hundreds …
Not a leg to stand on?
Can't see their objection.
a bunch of companies aggreeing a common standard is not the same as a cartel.
Nor would a common standard hamper competition in the delivery of services (paid or unpaid)
Virgin-branded publicity seeking?
What they are moaning about...
Probably not, however, it would reduce the need for their services if some of the big players signed up.
Say Sky, BBC and ITV signed up to canvas so you could (With the appropriate subscription), watch news, Sports, movies and such like over Teh Internets!
That would pretty much kill their TV cable service. (And good riddance, cos TBH, their customer services not only seem to not care about their customers, but have an active Hatred)
Of course, crying because their competitors could do distribution better than you is not a valid reason to kill the system, but as any official investigation done by Ofcom is likely to take months, they could at least attempt to throw a spanner in the works.
Unlike the BBC, ITV and Sky, Virgin dont have many channels of their own (Do they have any at all?), and end up reselling Sky, so would be the big loosers if everyone went to Teh Internets for their entertainment rathr than paying them.
Probaly trying to get in before-
Sky does,as they see this as a threat to their earnings,as Joe public might see this as a free package why pay?
"As its stands, vendors and service providers have to implement device-specific versions of offerings like YouTube, Lovefilm, Flickr, Picassa, Facebook etc, and that's slowing the roll-out of such services to everything from tellies to set-top boxes."
No they don't.
A standard interface for all of those applications already exists.
All vendors HAVE to do is implement a good web browser into their products. But that would mean actually allowing their customers to direct themselves, and might lead to the customers actually thinking.
And they can't have that, now, can they?
If Virgin had ever made a single quality TV programme, or anything of any cultural worth whatsoever, they could join the scheme themselves.
I'm all for UK *programme-makers* standing up to leeches like Virgin or Sky who's only function is to collect cash used outbid the free channels for sport or US drama and (in the case of Virgin particularly) push endless reams of un-wanted marketing crap through my letterbox.
Not about standards, but who owns them
"a bunch of companies aggreeing a common standard is not the same as a cartel."
Not necessarily. But if a bunch of content guys set up a gate, and try to exclude others from going through it, or charged excessive prices, then that's anti-competitive behaviour. Project Canvas pushes Virgin and Sky to the back of the EPG. It means start-ups have to play by Canvas rules too.
If Project Canvas allows all content providers to offer content on the same terms then Virgin can't really have many grounds for complaint.
I suspect the real problem is that Virgin make precious little content of their own, and none that will generate subscription revenue. So Project Canvas will turn them from a Cable TV provider into an infrastructure provider.
It is interesting that Virgin and Sky have very similar business models - reselling bundles of channels for a monthly fee (most of the content being crap), yet Sky are not sabre-rattling - presumably because they see the market for their big pay channels getting bigger, not smaller. And in the long run if the requirement to build and run sattelites and give away set top boxes were to go away I doubt they'd mind.
The only real down for consumers is that video from an external Canvas box will probably be over HDMI, so consumers will have very little ability to record and keep programs they like. Of course the inevitable catch-up service(s) will cover 90% of normal use cases.
Just as well ...
... that Canvas has said they'll have to work on non discriminatory principles, that costs will be set as low as possible, and that other people will still be free to provide their own services if they want.
Reading some of the comments from people who don't like Canvas, you'd get the idea that somehow the BBC are trying to ban the sale of all equipment that doesn't use Canvas. They're not. Even one of the main manufacturers that's on board with the project, Humax, envisages that they'll have Canvas equipment, and other standard Freeview equipment, some of which will have various on line services. Canvas isn't a monopoly.
Project Canvas doesn't necessarily push Virgin and Sky to the back of the EPG. Just like other services, the EPG will have to operate on FRND principles, and most likely comply with the Ofcom code relating to EPGs. Of course, what with Virgin not having any channels any more, they don't need to worry about being on the EPG at all anyway.
Sky really has no grounds to complain it has forced its download service on everyone that has a Windows 7 installation above the most basic home version, whether we want it or not!
I see the Virgins and Skys being the monopolistic issue here not the supposed cabal! It will be interesting to see how they respond to Google TV.
I suppose this has nothing to do with Virgin having acquired rights to sell TiVo in the UK and being likely to launch that at the same time as Canvas?
No? Thought not...
They could have done TiVo themselves if they wanted to
Virgin have had all the essential components for a TiVo-alike for years now, in their V+ boxes.
The *boxes* can do it all - Ethernet, USB, IR extenders, eSATA, etc. Pity they disable almost all of the nice-to-have features, even as paid extras.
The *software* they load onto them is useless. It no longer makes you wait a chunk of time before every button press, but it's still much less slick than it could be.
If only they put some effort into the software, it could be really good.
Circle the wagons, or learn some new sports
"developing a standard framework for the delivery of IPTV services, is anti-competitive"
Cable TV is a standard of its own - Virgin Media is simply a providor in the UK using a worldwide established set of protocols.
The infrastructure and protocols are changing - Virgin needs to join the game and help define the new service - not hide under a shell taking potshots as the world overtakes them.
I'm too young to remember, but did the BBC and ITV acuse the "new boy" of being anti-competative when they started their new-fangled "satellite broadcasts" in the late 70s and early 80s ?
All our Yesterdays...
Virgin hasn't a leg to stand on.
It's a cable service, so it can only give access to customer within its catchment area. Which is small. Last I heard Virgin haven't done any serious additional cabling for years.
So it'll have to remain price and service competitive with Canvas. Something I very much doubt it can do.
Virgin could have offered on-line services like YouTube, TV browsing, a large music catalogue to its customers years ago. But it's been virtually broke for years and can't afford to develop these kinds of eventual money earners.
Canvas will simply show it up next year as 'yesterdays' service!
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