Besides broadcasting content the BBC has taken some positive steps toward defining how broadcasters and content creators can best leverage technology. Since a lot of the work they have been doing is opensource there are possibilities to add contribute to or just benefit from work that is already being done. At the very least I think their stated plans to build public value are an interesting starting place.
There are a number of established projects on the BBC R&D page . Mix TV uses similar technologies to the Dialog Table but its end product is video. It uses chromakey and shape recognition to allow on screen talent to pick up and manipulate virtual objects.
The Dirac Codec has some great potential. We are generally happy with the quality of the streams we are getting on our Channel but an open source alternative with comperable or better quality would have been nice when we were planning it out.
Not on the R&D page but also of interest is the Listen Live Widget for Tiger. It is in fact a search for “Real Player widgets” that lead me to the site in the first place.
I think more important than the specific software implementation is the general philosophy behind Backstage where they state “Build what you want using BBC content”. There is a lively set of ideas and prototypes being posted about how a content producer could distribute their content in the near future. I think it is this sort of philosophy clearly defines the advantage non-profit organizations have when they are addressing new technologies.
UPDATE: Just a few hours after I made this post I spotted this New Scientist article mentioned on the Rhizome list.