BBC's 'Canvas' to get nod amid protest by private rivals

BBC's brainchild 'project Canvas' has got a go-ahead from its governing body, BBC Trust, which is expected to rule in favour of the video-on-demand and internet service today.

Project Canvas, which is being developed by BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5 along with telecom giants BT and TalkTalk, will allow its subscribers to access free-to-view, video-on-demand, HD and internet services, which will be rolled into one platform via a set top box.

The service, which is scheduled to be launched late next year, will give British consumers access to services like BBC iPlayer, NHS Direct, LoveFilm, Hulu, and Amazon. Set-top boxes using Canvas technology, costing about £200, are expected to be available by the end of next year.

Any organisation will be able to design applications offering content and viewers will be able to shop in an 'app store', similar to Apple's.

It is understood that the BBC Trust will look closely at the cost of Canvas's marketing budget, which has been set at 48 million pounds. The total cost will be 115.6 million pounds in its first four years.

However, the joint venture is drawing criticism from likes of BSkyB and Virgin Media, which offer their own range of broadband internet services.