GlobeCast goes over the top to the world

France Telecom’s broadcast services and infrastructure company GlobeCast last week announced at NAB plans to launch an OTT platform for international broadcasters across the Americas on July 1. This broadband TV package will be the OTT extension of GlobeCast’s existing WorldTV DTH satellite service, which enables global broadcasters to reach American homes via a satellite dish. There will be considerable overlap between the two packages, both being effectively business-to-consumer (B2C) platforms delivering a mix of international, ethnic and genre-based programming directly to subscribers, including linear and VOD content.

The OTT version has a hybrid element and will also provide access to local terrestrial channels. The initial channel line-up will comprise Indonesian, Japanese, Malayalam South Asian and Romanian programming, but GlobeCast says it will expand quickly over the next few months to include a broad range of African, Asian, Australian and European content.
The service will be delivered via a hybrid DVR (Digital Video Recorder) from French set top box maker Netgem, supporting adaptive bit rate streaming (ABR) for the IP delivered content, as well as incorporating a terrestrial receiver for local broadcast signals. It has a 320GB hard drive able to store about 450 hours of standard definition video, which will enable effective catch up functionality with the ability to pump content down to the user’s DVR.

“At launch, content will be available via the MyGlobeTV set-top box,” said Emma Brackett, VP of Consumer Products and Services at GlobeCast. “The deployment of a MyGlobeTV app will follow soon after to enable anytime-anywhere viewing on any connected device.”
MyGlobeTV gives broadcasters an end-to-end solution including content ingest, delivery and management, along with signal transport and encoding, and multiplatform distribution. GlobeCast will also provide marketing, retail distribution, and customer care. The idea is that broadcasters can use the service to expand their viewer base by reaching consumers not easily accessed via DTH satellite, or who do not want to install a dish.

The service is true OTT. Although it makes use of GlobeCast’s global satellite/fiber infrastructure to transport content from the different sources around the world to its technical operations centre in Sunrise, Florida, from there content is delivered to homes via the Internet using adaptive streaming. According to GlobeCast, any user in the Americas with a broadband connection will be able to receive the programming, but will need to have the set top box and the service activated. This type of service is sometimes called “closed OTT” in that is completely invisible to casual Internet users, with content fully encrypted.

GlobeCast has said the service will be extended throughout the Americas and will then consider further expansion on a region by region basis, depending on market potential, as well as quality and availability of broadband access.