Channel 4 and TalkTalk today confirmed they have signed up to join Project Canvas - a proposal to deliver television programmes and other online content to the living room over broadband, on-demand and subscription-free.

Having signed agreements to partner in the proposed venture, Channel 4 and TalkTalk join the BBC, ITV, Five and BT in committing to a project which will, subject to approval by the BBC Trust, create a next generation platform for Freeview and Freesat.

With internet-connected TV set to be the next major technological development in broadcasting, Channel 4 believes Project Canvas is critical to the long-term future of subscription-free TV.

Over the last five years the TalkTalk Group has invested over £1 billion to transform the UK broadband and home phone market into the most vibrant and good value in the world. The company changed the market forever in April 2006 with the launch of ‘free broadband’ and has created Britain’s most advanced Next Generation Network covering over 80% of the UK population.

Gill Pritchard, Director of Strategy, Channel 4, said:

“Channel 4 has always been at the forefront of on-demand viewing and was the first broadcaster to make its content available on an on-demand basis when it launched 4oD in December 2006. IPTV is set to become the next generation of TV and if Channel 4 is to continue to enhance its importance in a fully converged world it is key to be part of driving Project Canvas. We believe that Project Canvas is an important development that will bring considerable benefits to all viewers, increasing the accessibility of on-demand content for everyone, not just the technologically savvy.”

Max Alexander, Senior Director, TV at TalkTalk said:

“We’ve led the way in making the internet accessible by championing value and building the most extensive network. We’re pleased to support Project Canvas and believe that it will be of great interest to our 4 million customers.”

Project Canvas project director Richard Halton, speaking on behalf of partners BBC, ITV, Five and BT, said:

“Project Canvas can help secure the future of free-to-air broadcasting, as well as create an opportunity for a wide range of public services and new commercial models to thrive through an open platform. We’re delighted that Channel 4 and TalkTalk have joined the project.”

About Project Canvas

Project Canvas is a bid to create a free-to-air platform for internet-connected TV devices: through the adoption of common standards, and a new venture to roll out that standard to the industry, and promote the platform to consumers.

Project Canvas represents an upgrade of the UK’s existing free-to-air TV platforms Freesat and Freeview, and aims to unlock the potential of free-to-air internet-connected TV, democratising access to the living room.

The proposal has been prepared by the BBC, with partners ITV, Five and BT and has been submitted to the BBC Trust for approval. The BBC Trust is currently consulting on the proposals and is expected to make a decision later this year.