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Monday, 21 June 2010 09:09

Inmarsat introduces 'budget' satellite broadband service

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Inmarsat has added 176kpbs streaming rate option to its Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) range of satellite services designed for news organisations wanting to upload video from 'off network' locations.

Inmarsat says the new service, launched at CommunicAsia in Singapore last week, will be suitable for talking head shots, low movement and relatively static backgrounds, is compatible with existing video codecs and is accessible through the existing BGAN hardware that many news crews already use.

"The 176kbps streaming rate is an entry-level service for broadcasters who want to try live video streaming," said Drew Brandy, director of land mobile services at Inmarsat. "It provides smaller broadcasters with similar broadcast capabilities to those enjoyed by the major international networks.

"With 176kbps streaming, the more budget-conscious broadcaster can still deliver decent quality video to their viewers at a lower price point. It offers an additional choice to broadcasters who don't want to use BGAN X-Stream or our 256kbps streaming rate."

He said that, although the new 176kbps service can be used with existing codecs, Inmarsat has also worked with codec developers to produce low cost software codecs for use with the service.

"We realised that to deliver our services to these new market segments we could not just focus on the airtime; we needed to focus on the end to end experience. To deploy codecs to a large number of teams can be very expensive."

CONTINUED

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Users of the new 176kbps service will also be able to save on the links between Inmarsat's distribution hubs and their own facilities. Brandy said that users of the higher bandwidth services needed leased lines to ensure that service quality was maintained, but the 176kbps service could happily be delivered over ISDN or broadband Internet services.

BGAN X-Stream offers a streaming IP data rate of at least 384kbps, with an estimated top end of 450kbps. According to Inmarsat, "The enhanced video quality of BGAN X-Stream has enabled broadcasters to defer, or even avoid, the need to use satellite news gathering trucks. It has been used for hundreds of live video reports in the harshest and most remote locations on the planet; from the depths of the Amazon to the top of Everest."

In addition to the new 176kbps streaming rate, Inmarsat has added new ways to access its BGAN streaming services. Customers can opt for a "low capex" proposition, a "low opex" pay-as-you-go option; and a "content delivery" proposition that provides a fully-managed end-to-end solution.

ExchangeDaily editor Stuart Corner travelled to CommunicAsia as a guest of Inmarsat


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