While the BBC is attempting to define and promote its own view of broadcast and broadband convergence with Project Canvas, broadcasters in France and Germany have been coming up with their own version. It appears to be based on existing open standards and they are aiming to work with the European Broadcasting Union to develop the draft specification for possible submission to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, which seems promising.
The intention is that there will be no single controlling aggregator, enabling services and programming from different and independent providers to be accessible on the same device.
The aim is to develop and implement a simple, open, extensible, upgradable and standardised system together with consumer electronics companies that could be adopted as a standard by the end of the year.
The proposal is now being evaluated by the European Broadcasting Union, the largest association of national broadcasters in the world. The aspiration is that a single standard could be adopted across all countries that employ the DVB digital broadcasting system, rather than risk fragmenting the consumer electronics market with incompatible standards adopted by different countries.
The hope must be that the BBC will become more involved and support the development of a coherent approach across Europe.
The proposed standard is still at a relatively early stage of development and more work will undoubtedly be required if it is to become suitable for broad adoption. Nevertheless, the standards based approach being adopted appears promising.