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Globosat, NET, and Elemental Team to Stream Olympics in Brazil

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Rio de Janeiro—For all the bad news coming out of the Olympics here in Rio de Janeiro, from empty seats to green pool water to swimmers who may or may not have been robbed, it was a relief to spend some time there focusing on an unqualified success: Globosat and NET's successful, cutting-edge delivery of the games to subscribers on 60 OTT channels (in addition to broadcast and pay TV) and via the SporTV Rio 2016 app. Both companies are relying heavily on Elemental Technologies solutions to help power their offerings.

Globosat is one of the biggest pay TV providers in Latin America, and is the leading multi-channel video provider in Brazil, reaching 50 million viewers, 17.2 million of which watch its services each day. For the Olympics, Globosat doubled its number of SporTV HD channels to 16, which deliver 93% of the live events, with the remaining 7% delivered on the other 44 IP channels, according to Roberto Primo, CTO of Globosat. Globosat is also producing the worldwide signal for the Olympics.

That's a significant change in approach from the one the BBC took for the 2012 London games, where the broadcaster offered viewing on only 24 channels, because it didn't want to lose viewers to the web, Primo said at a press event in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday. Another difference is that Globosat is providing the original Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) feed with ambient noise and graphics but no narration in addition to the standard broadcast feed with commentary.

One of the control rooms in Globosat's broadcast facility in Rio de Janeiro (Photo by Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen)

From its broadcast center in Rio de Janeiro, Globsat receives signals from the international broadcast center located on the grounds of one of the Olympic venues. There, Elemental Live software encodes the content for live OTT delivery, and Elemental Server processes and outputs the content for VOD services. Elemental's software-defined video architecture supports HD-SDI today, and Globosat plans to use it to support future deployment of SMPTE-2022-6 (SDI over IP) to transport media signals over IP.

For DVB delivery, a Globosat engineer said the broadcaster used adaptive bitrate streaming with bitrates from 9Mbps to 15Mbps for HD, and 24Mbps HEVC for 4K. For OTT delivery, the bitrates range from 64Kbps to 2.5Mbps.

At the press event, Elemental CEO and co-founder Sam Blackman said that Globosat added four more channels just two weeks before the games began, a last-minute upscale that wouldn't have been possible with hardware-based, rather than software-based, solutions.

Users of the SporTV Rio 2016 app on the Apple TV can access an on-screen mosaic of all 16 channels for a visual browsing experience, and they can also receive notifications letting them know when major events are beginning or exciting finishes are in play. The app offers similar experiences on mobile phones, tablets, and other connected devices. 

For the opening ceremonies, SporTV 4K got the source feed from Globosat partner NBC, which was in turn getting signals from the OBS and NHK, which provided an 8K signal that was downconverted to 4K and sent to an Elemental encoder for playout.

NET, a leading pay TV and broadband provider in Brazil, is delivering the Olympics to hybrid DVB/IP set-top boxes. NET is part of America Movii, which also owns Embratel, which is taking 40 raw channels from Globosat and transcoding them to multi-bitrate services using Elemental Live VM instances, then packaging them using Elemental Delta and delivering the streams using the NET CDN. NET is also using Lambda from Amazon Web Services (which owns Elemental) to insert static images into broadcast channels when there is no live event on that channel.

This just scratches the surface of Globosat's and NET's workflows; watch for an in-depth feature in an upcoming issue of Streaming Media magazine that will dig deeper into the making of what NET marketing and products director Marcio Carvalho called "the most connected games in history."

Uruguay's Antel Selects Elemental

Elemental made more news this week with today's announcement that Uruguay's state-owned Administración Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Antel) has selected the company's video processing to power its new TIER III Datacenter in Montevideo, Uruguay. Antel has already deployed Elemental's Delta, Live, and Server solutions for its delivery of the Olympics via the VeraTV OTT service. It's using Elemental Delta for CDN origination and live, VOD, and time-shifted services, and Elemental Conductor to manage workflows.

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