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BBC Partnership to Merge TVs, Computers

Two years ago, the BBC turned the computer screens of Britain into TVs.

All the BBC's programs — news, movies and entertainment — were made available free, online and on-demand, through an easy downloadable program called the iPlayer. All you needed was a broadband connection.

Now the BBC is in partnership with several private channels and Internet providers in the U.K. to go one better.

They are poised to make the country's TV sets behave more like computer screens, by developing the software to put Internet staples (like Amazon or YouTube) on conventional television, along with streamed content from the iPlayer.

In effect, the venture — called Project Canvas — will make all screens, from shiny new 42-inch TVs to tiny iPhones — able to show and play just about anything.

It's a race to set the standard for Internet services on TV, and the developers hope to bolster a free-access system.

Private electronics giants like Sony and Panasonic have enabled some of their new model televisions to tune in the Internet, but only in a limited way to stream a restricted amount of content.

The BBC and its partners in Project Canvas want to develop and license a simple box that will work with any TV, and will allow users to browse and view anything delivered by broadband.

The boxes are expected to cost about $350, and be available toward the end of 2010.

For more info:
Electronics Giants Raise Ruckus Over Project Canvas (The Register)