The BBC, ITV and BT have announced they are joining together to work as partners to "promote a common industry approach and consumer offer to deliver on demand TV over broadband".

Open for all public service broadcasters, device developers and other internet service providers, the initiative would see the development of a standards based open environment for broadband connected digital television receivers.

This would mean a new generation of subscription free devices, carrying free to air channels with a selection of on demand TV services like iPlayer and ITV Player, as well as the potential for films, shows and interactive content from a range of other providers in standard and high definition.

Michael Grade, executive chairman of ITV said: "This proposal will bring catch-up from the PC to the TV set in your living room, and all for free. This makes convergence a reality. It will also future-proof our free-to-air platforms, Freeview and Freesat. We are delighted to be working with the BBC, BT and other ISPs to bring this idea to fruition for viewers".

Described as "the next natural evolution of Freeview", the plans are subject to BBC Trust approval and public consultation.