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MyGlobeTV ‘closed OTT’ service launches in U.S.

GlobeCast’s OTT platform MyGlobeTV, announced at NAB in April, has made its commercial debut in the U.S. with 16 premium Romanian-language channels.

GlobeCast, a France Telecom subsidiary, will extend the service over the next few months to other expatriate and niche communities in the U.S., while also planning to expand across the Americas and possibly beyond.

“We unveiled MyGlobeTV at the 2012 NAB Show in April, and we’re very happy now to launch the initial group of channels to the public,” said Emma Brackett, vice-president of consumer video products and services at GlobeCast. “Broadcasters from around the world now have an additional means of distribution in the world’s largest media market. With MyGlobeTV, they can develop new revenue streams and expand their viewer base by reaching markets not easily accessed via DTH satellite.”

Indeed, the broadband TV package is an OTT extension of GlobeCast’s existing WorldTV DTH satellite service, which enables global broadcasters to reach American homes via satellite. There is 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, since it also provides access to local terrestrial channels. MyGlobeTV is delivered via a hybrid DVR 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. While, for now, content is available only via MyGlobeTV set-top box, an app will follow to enable viewing on any connected device away from the home.

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.

Some commentators have mistakenly called the service IPTV when it is actually “closed OTT.” The distinction is that while it makes use of GlobeCast’s global satellite/fiber infrastructure to transport content from different sources around the world to its technical operations center in Sunrise, FL, it delivers 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. The service is “closed OTT” in the sense that it is completely invisible to casual Internet users, with content fully encrypted.