The BBC Trust has approved a project that could allow the viewing public to access internet TV players like iPlayer via their televisions.

Project Canvas is an intitiative between the BBC, ITV, BT, Five, Channel 4 and TalkTalk to develop a so-called Internet Protocol Television standard.

The end result would see services like iPlayer and ITVplayer available via set-top TV boxes, which would cost around £200.

The set-top boxes could be available as soon as next year.

Although it had given initial approval, the Trust added that it would require another period of consultation in February.

Trust board member Diane Coyle said: “We believe Canvas could be an important part of the way in which the BBC delivers its services in the future.”

But the Trust added that Canvas may slow the growth of pay TV and damage the DVD rental market. Ms Coyle said there were no reasons why companies like Sky couldn’t charge for services on the platform.