Tech revolution on the cards
The days of fixing an antenna on the rooftops to receive clear pictures on television screens are long gone. Now, thanks to technological advances, the option of even rewinding the programmes beamed live on TV is available.While the western world has been availing of such facility for some time now, the people in Bangladesh are yet to get it. But change is round the corner. Amber IT, a leading IT company in Bangladesh, is going to introduce live TV as Over the Top (OTT) content application for the first time in the country.OTT content refers to delivery of audio, video and other media software over internet without the involvement of multiple-system operators, who usually exert control over the distribution of content.
In Bangladesh, several OTT apps are popular for messaging and call services. The number of direct calls made per day in Bangladesh has declined significantly due to the increased usage of applications such as Skype, Viber and other apps.
Watching live TV through OTT app, however, is a new concept in Bangladesh. Amber IT plans to grab a big chunk of the relatively new market.
Talking to The Independent, MA Hakim, chief executive officer of Amber IT, said that they want to give the people better mobility by introducing live TV through its OTT app. “People can download our app on their phones and watch live TV on the go,” he said.
Hakim said that this technology is already available in many countries, including India. In this era of internet and smart TVs, consumers are migrating to these services in greater numbers due to their relative affordability in comparison to monthly pay TV.
“Besides, unlike traditional TV, OTT app-based television offers several options that will grab the consumer’s attention,” he said.
For example, Hakim said that they are going to add features like ‘catch up service’ in their app. With catch up service, one can rewind and go back to live coverage.
“Suppose you miss the first 30 minutes of a football match and you want to watch those parts. Our catch up service will allow you to rewind the match and watch that”, said Hakim.
Also the app will have recording option. “Suppose, you don’t want to miss a programme, but you have some very important work then you can record the programme and watch it later. We will also incorporate video on demand,” he said.
Explaining about the video on demand (VOD) option, he said it allows users to watch or listen to video or audio content when they choose rather than having to watch at specific broadcast times.
Hakim said apart from local users, Amber IT will also target expatriate Bangladeshis, who are usually unable to watch Bangladeshi channels. Expats can install the app on their smart TVs and can avail of the services.
“Also for expat Bangladeshi subscribers, we will have set-top box service. The set-top box is an information appliance device that generally contains a TV-tuner input and the display output connects to a television set and an external signal source, turning content into a form that can be displayed on television screens or other display devices,” he explained.
Hakim said that they will launch the service on September 1 on a test basis. “
It will take four to five months to launch the fill-fledged service because during the test phase many issues, including internet speed, video quality, subscribers’ feedback on improving the service will be checked,” he said.
“We will have adaptive bit-rate technology to ensure the best quality service,” added Hakim. The adaptive bit rate technology checks the broadband speed at the subscriber’s end and fixes the resolution of the video accordingly.
He said that they have already launched the service on mobile platforms. Their app is available for android, iOS and windows platforms. Anybody can download and start watching live TV using the app.
While Amber IT is going to launch its TV service as an OTT application, Beximco Communications Limited is set to launch a new service called Direct-to-Home (DTH) from January 2016. It’s a technology where television signal is directly relayed from the satellite straight to the homes of subscribers. It will offer competition to the existing cable system.
“We are ready to provide DTH services across the country from January next year,” said Bobby Dias, area manager, Beximco Communications Limited, adding that it will initially launch the DTH service in metropolitan areas before covering the entire country. Customers can change their monthly package that will include over 100 channels.
In December 2013, the government awarded licences to Beximco Communications Limited and Buyers Media Limited for operating DTH services.