Project Canvas morphs into YouView
Project Canvas, the controversial UK web TV scheme, has been daubed with the more consumer-friendly moniker YouView ahead of its launch in 2011.
The scheme’s seven backers have also formed a new limited company under the same name, which will be headed up by Richard Halton, a BBC veteran who led development of Project Canvas.
“We are creating an exciting consumer brand which will stand for a better TV experience,” Halton said, adding. “Connected TV creates all kinds of creative possibilities.”
A YouView set-top-box will offer access to digital TV channels, a seven day catch-up service, PVR capabilities, and on-demand and internet content when it launches in 1H11, chairman Kip Meek said.
The BBC, ITV, BT, Channel 4, TalkTalk, Arqiva and Five, are backing YouView, which Halton says will “change the way we watch TV forever.”
YouView will pitch into an increasingly competitive market, with firms including Google, Apple and Sony all planning online TV services.
However, the service faces fierce criticism from rival broadcasters and media firms.
Graham McWilliam, director of corporate affairs at BSkyB, branded the scheme “nothing short of BBC creep,” the broadcaster reported.
In August, Virgin Media and IP Vision both branded Project Canvas as anti-competitive in complaints to regulator Ofcom, with Virgin claiming it will destroy the UK online TV market.
Halton hit back at the criticism, telling The Guardian that YouView was essential to prevent freeview services in the country losing ground to pay TV services.