IBC: So Protect Me!

The content protection players have converged on the IBC show in Amsterdam, with Verimatrix leading the DRM news charge

September 11, 2008

3 Min Read
IBC: So Protect Me!

AMSTERDAM -- IBC2008 -- As digital video makes its way to an increasing number of devices (TVs, PCs, mobile handsets) via a number of different networks (satellite, terrestrial, cable, Internet, fixed and mobile telecom infrastructures), so the need for content owners to ensure their property isn't being ripped off or consumed by those who don't have permission becomes even greater.

Of course, there's no shortage of specialists offering up digital rights management (DRM) and conditional access (CA) systems to help content owners and distributors. Here at IBC -- currently an extensive and chaotic building site with a conference hanging off the side -- those specialists are much in evidence, promoting their latest wares and pumping up their new alliances and deployments. (See IBC Day 1: WIP.)

French outfit Viaccess S.A. , for example, is showing off the fruits of its Orca Interactive Ltd. acquisition by unveiling a hybrid content delivery/protection system for Internet-based services, including catch-up TV and various flavors of video on demand (VOD). (See Viaccess, Orca Team and FT Unit Reels In Orca.)

And it's not alone in attracting attention from the content security conscious here at IBC, as Widevine Technologies Inc. , SecureMedia Inc. , Latens Systems Ltd. , Nagravision SA , NDS Ltd. , and Irdeto Access B.V. are also very much in evidence. (See Widevine Heads for IBC, Ericsson Picks SecureMedia, Latens Shows Off at IBC, and ADB Adds Latens Middleware.)

Breaking into broadcast
And then there's Verimatrix Inc. , which, having built itself a decent position in the IPTV content protection sector during the past few years, is now trying to broaden its horizons and break into the broader broadcasting sector with a new product release, VCAS (Video Content Authority System) for DVB 2.0. (See Verimatrix Expands VCAS and Verimatrix Touts Leadership.)

The company's VP of marketing, Steve Christian, says Verimatrix wants to "use the recent C round of financing [amount undisclosed, but believed to be in the double digit millions of dollars] as a springboard to extend beyond the IPTV sector into the DVB [digital video broadcasting] market," which involves targeting the cable, satellite, and terrestrial TV broadcasters. (See Verimatrix Gets Some Cash and Verimatrix Branches Out.)

Christian says version 2.0 adds unidirectional service capabilities to support legacy customers, something that the first iteration of VCAS for DVB didn't do. This means the software now supports traditional, one-way services, where no direct return path is available for customers to activate content settings or access new services, as well as hybrid networks [broadcast and IP] that include two-way services, such as pay-per-view.

Adding the new capabilities means the same content protection system can be used for traditional broadcast services as well as the latest IPTV services that involve upstream as well as downstream communications.

It also pitches Verimatrix against the likes of Irdeto, Nagra, and NDS, which, says Christian, have "an entrenched position in the broadcasting business with their legacy conditional access offerings," and thrusts Verimatrix into the broader digital TV market that Christian believes is set to grow from 300 million subscribers worldwide now to 1.2 billion subscribers by 2012.

Now Christian says Verimatrix is working to integrate its content protection software into set-top-box chipsets from companies such as Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM), Sigma Designs Inc. (Nasdaq: SIGM), and STMicroelectronics NV (NYSE: STM), "so that smartcards don't need to be used."

Verimatrix expects to begin customer trials at the beginning of next year and make the new release commercially available during the first half of 2009.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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