Irdeto Keys on Cable IPTV

12:25 PM It's sure to face lots of competition, but Irdeto thinks it can help MSOs secure content as they embark on IP-based video strategies

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

March 25, 2009

2 Min Read
Irdeto Keys on Cable IPTV

12:25 PM -- Although it's sure to have plenty of company, Irdeto Access B.V. thinks it has the security question answered as U.S. cable operators flesh out how they are going to deliver premium video content via IP to PCs, and eventually to broadband-fed set-tops and to other devices hanging off the home network.

Irdeto, which views cable's recent Web TV awakening as an opportunity to break into the U.S. cable market in a big way, is marching in with a "unified protection scheme" that combines the company's digital rights management and conditional access (CA) technology with other elements brought in through the acquisitions of Cloakware Corp. and Entriq Inc. (See Irdeto Targets Cable Video.)

Cloakware provides a software-based platform that hides the encryption keys of the underlying content protection or CA system, while Entriq adds in content management and distribution mechanisms. (See Cloakware Reveals DTA Security Plan.)

Jan Steenkamp, a founding member of Irdeto who is heading up the company's efforts for North America, expects to see cable's IP video strategy go through distinct phases. The first one, of course, involves bringing premium fare to the PC, an effort well underway at MSOs such as Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC). (See Cable Web TV: Results May Vary and Cable-Led Web TV Deals Still Forming.)

"We really see that as a short-term sprint," Steenkamp says of cable's Web TV ambitions. MSOs "are getting to the RFP [request for proposal] level now."

After that, Steenkamp expects MSOs to seek out ways to deliver IP video to hybrid set-tops/gateways outfitted with high-speed Internet connections, and then propagate that content to other set-tops and devices on the home network.

Eventually, cable ops will want to mobilize that content, too, as their wireless strategies take hold. In all these phases, networks and studios will insist that cable ops keep their content well protected.

But Irdeto faces a steep challenge -- striking deals in the midst of the Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) / Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) CA duopoly. Those companies already protect most of U.S. cable's QAM-based digital video content, and it's very likely they'll come up with products that address cable's upcoming IPTV security requirements.

"We don’t see that as a hindrance," Steenkamp says of cable's CA legacy, holding that Irdeto's scheme can easily live alongside it.

But Motorola and Cisco won't be the only ones attacking these new business opportunities. Others throwing their hats in will likely include Widevine Technologies Inc. , Conax AS , Nagravision SA , NDS Ltd. , and SecureMedia Inc. , to name but a few.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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