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Project Canvas, the new on-demand broadband TV service that is being backed by some of the UK's biggest broadcasters, could launch as soon as next year.

According to Digital Spy, Canvas boxes could be available for consumers to buy by 2010, and is being supported by the likes of BBC, BT, ITV and Five over their broadband connections.

Richard Halton, director of programming at the BBC, told the technology website that broadcaster also hopes to increase the uptake of Freeview HD services in time for the football World Cup, which takes place in South Africa next summer.

He said: "Next year we will see a lot of activity in the pay TV sector, so free-to-air platforms offering competitive choice to consumers is really important. That is why for us 2010 is really important."

Mr Halton added that if Canvas is a success, it could present content providers that would otherwise not be able to broadcast via conventional means with a "massive opportunity".

Earlier this year, media regulator Ofcom revealed that it will need to pay close attention to Project Canvas after the Competition Commission blocked a similar scheme, Project Kangaroo, because it was felt it would breach competition laws.

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