KVH launches satellite content service for seafarers
Michelle Clancy
| 15 May 2014
The IP-MobileCast content delivery service developed by KVH Industries for its mini-VSAT Broadband satellite network is now live.

The system will enable seafarers in the middle of the ocean to have affordable access to daily digital newspapers, television news, sports updates, music, new-release blockbuster movies and TV programmes via a multicasting service.

IP-MobileCast service utilises multicasting technology to deliver large amounts of content to many ships at once, overcoming the prohibitively high satellite communications costs typically charged to deliver files for individual use. Content is delivered over the top of the network so there is no charge for the delivery, only for the content itself. The multicasting transmission does not affect the vessel's mini-VSAT broadband onboard data speed and the service ensures digital rights management (DRM) of copyrighted material, such as Hollywood movies and television programmes. Content is delivered using forward error correction to minimise burden on the mini-VSAT broadband network.

"The IP-MobileCast service is revolutionary in the richness of fresh content that can be delivered to mariners at sea, who up until now have not had access to updated news, sports, television or movies onboard their vessels," said Martin Kits van Heyningen, KVH CEO. "Now, mariners in the middle of the ocean can experience an incredible amount of news and entertainment content the entire time they are at sea, and maritime operators can benefit from providing crew welfare services reliably and affordably."

The 2014 FIFA World Cup will be of particular importance. "We're broadcasting football highlights from the games in Brazil, culminating in complete, live coverage on 13 July," said Jim Dodez, KVH's senior vice president for marketing and strategic planning. "We're especially proud to bring globally celebrated special events to mariners at sea, to strengthen their ties to home and family. It's how we interpret the spirit and the letter of the MLC-2006 crew welfare act."

The content can be delivered to a flat-screen TV, a computer, or a Wi-Fi enabled personal device such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop.

"We can provide content from anywhere in the world to a vessel anywhere at sea, and the user has an experience that is even better than that on land," aids Brian Arthur, KVH vice president of product development. "On land, people have become accustomed to viewing entertainment content via a streaming device, which is subject to freezing or interruption. With the IP-MobileCast service, the content is broadcast over the KVH mini-VSAT broadband network and stored on an onboard server, so everyone watching it is viewing something locally, with no streaming interruptions. The reaction we have had from our beta testing users has been fantastic."