Project Canvas planned for early 2011 launch

Project Canvas' chief technical officer has stated that the much debated and delayed service should be arriving in the first half of 2011.

The open online TV platform, which Anthony Rose describes as a "best of breed", will have an Intel system-on-a-chip solution at its core upon which the BBC approved project will also design the user-interface. The idea is then that no matter how old your set top box gets, it'll always feature the exact same, up to date service as all the brand new hardware of the time receives.

"Our priority has been - build the sucker and get it shipped", joked Rose at an Intel-hosted panel discussion on the future of television.

"Getting the parties together is a remarkable feat in the first place. My team has a good deal of technical work to do. I can't talk about the timescales given before I was on the project but what we're talking about now is in the first half of 2011".

Canvas has been something of an issue up until recently with the BBC Trust discussing its future and Sky and Virgin Media staunchly against its creation, both of whom Rose welcomes onto the platform "in whole or in part, as either free content or paid portions".

The former iPlayer chief designer also took the time to outline the values of creating an open platform while highlighting the difference between the way Canvas will work and what Google intends to offer with Google TV.

"If you make something closed, then only you can provide the innovation. When it's open, other people can collaborate to the success of the platform and come up with advancements and applications that you never even dreamed of".

"As a consumer, maybe Google is a bit too open. When I'm sitting next to my TV in the dark with a keyboard trying to search for things to watch, that's what I call a bit of a consumer fail. We believe that Canvas hits a nice sweet spot between these two with program search, linear TV and recommendations as well".

It certainly sounds appealing, but if you're hoping to be able to appreciate this multi-channel, online experience on your mobile phone or other devices, then think again. It's nothing technical assured Rose but the issue of content rights rearing its ugly head once more.

"We might have the rights to use the content on TV but not to use the same material on mobile or online. So, rather than fragment and confuse the market, at this time we're only seeking out the TV space. You can get listings on your mobile phone and even use companion devices - phone or tablets - to enhance your TV viewing, but that will be all".

Not quite the perfect package but still great news to hear that there's not too long to go before we finally get to see it. We'll bring you word as soon as it comes.