Globecomm Helps Showtime Expand HD Offerings

As Showtime Networks launches addition HD channels this year, the programmer will be working with Globecomm Network Services Corporation under a recently announced multiyear contract.

In recent months, GNSC provided origination and broadcasting services for the launch of a new HD service, the Smithsonian Channel, and it upgraded Showtime 2 from standard-def to high-def service. Additional Showtime channels in high-definition are expected to be launched in the first half of 2008.

Under the contract, GNSC provides origination, monitoring and uplink services for Showtime Networks. It has also designed and constructed a custom built broadcast center for Showtime that takes up nearly 7,000 square feet in Globecomm’s Long Island International Teleport in Hauppauge New York, said Keith Hall, vice president and general manager for GNSC, which is a subsidiary of Globecomm Systems.

“We have done some conversions from SD to HD in the last couple of months and we are now in the process of going back and upgrading other channels,” Hall said.

In 2003, Showtime selected Globecomm to design a VOD network that would ingest on demand content and distribute it to cable headends.

After the split of Viacom into two companies, which left Showtime as part of CBS, Showtime was forced to look for a new broadcast facility. In June 2006, after receiving a number of bids, Showtime commissioned GNSC to build a state of the art facility at Globecomm’s Long Island International Teleport in Hauppauge New York.

The center, which went into operation on schedule a year later in July 2007, was designed from the start to help Showtime make an easy transition to HD content.

In designing and building the facility, GNSC used equipment from a number of vendors, including Sony, Leitch Technology, Motorola, Tandberg, Dolby and Harris, Hall said.

Globecomm has a long history providing and building end-to-end satellite based communications products and broadcast solutions, with a client list that includes Cable & Wireless, AT&T, BT, CBS and Intelsat.

But it is a relatively new entrant in the broadcast services sector. “Winning the Showtime contract in competition with Assent Media and others was a big win for us,” Hall says. “Before that we weren’t strong in that area. As more programmers move to HD, we think Showtime will fuel and opportunity for us in the broadcast market.”