India’s Bharti Airtel embraces three-screen future

As one of India's largest mobile carriers, Bharti Airtel operates in a market that's both one of the world's fastest growing and one of the most competitive, resulting in rock-bottom prices and narrow profit margins.

In considering market opportunities, Bharti Airtel wanted to position itself to enter emerging markets for VOD, IPTV and mobile TV, but the solution had to be economical and future-proof. So when the carrier tapped Globecomm to launch a state-of-the-art origination network that would allow it to offer video entertainment across three screens, the service provider faced unique challenges.

"This project was all about balancing tomorrow's opportunity and today's cost," said Globecomm VP for the Asia-Pacific Dov Cydulkin. "Because it is so vast and growing so fast, the Indian market offers opportunities never commercially feasible before. But it imposes some of the most stringent cost constraints I have ever seen."

At Singapore’s BroadcastAsia 2009 this summer, Globecomm Systems presented a case study of the project, “Designing the Mobile TV Platform: Inside the New Media Processing Center." Globecomm created an advanced media processing center for the Indian mobile carrier that can handle the multiple video formats and configurations of mobile TV devices as well as standard DTH, cable and over-the-air broadcast, in both scheduled and on-demand modes.

"Making the facility IP-centric is the key to the future for Bharti," Cydulkin said. "Working with them, we actually evolved a new architecture that we call the media processing center. Because we encode everything as IP upon ingest, the MPC 'speaks IP' as its native format."

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