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DirecTV, BSkyB Lock In NDS for TV Everywhere

Jeff Baumgartner
8/31/2011

DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) and Sky are the first service providers to run with VideoGuard Connect, a new digital rights management (DRM) system from NDS Ltd. that has some serious TV Everywhere ambitions.

Instead of being tied to a service provider-managed device such as a set-top box, VideoGuard Connect attempts to extend content security to a wide range of unmanaged, Internet-connected devices that are accessing video and other digital content over-the-top.

Initially, NDS's new system will support a range of set-top boxes, connected TVs, PCs, Macs, iOS devices, several Android-based smartphones and tablets, and the Playstation 3, says NDS CTO of DRM Technologies Leonid Sandler.

NDS, which comes up against DRM specialists such as Irdeto Access B.V. and Nagravision SA , hopes its approach will give service providers a centralized way to manage the deployment of TV Everywhere services, which gives access to content only to pay-TV subscribers that are authorized to view it, instead of having to build more siloed versions for an ever-growing number of device formats. Under the NDS approach, the service provider's headend (in a cable example) would communicate with the VideoGuard Connect software client contained in the device that's trying to access the protected content.

VideoGuard Connect "is much more integrated on the backend side of things," says NDS Sales and Marketing Director Paul Ranger.

BSkyB is initially using VideGuard Connect to support its Sky Go service, which includes access to 32 live linear channels, on iOS devices. DirecTV plans to use the new DRM scheme to secure video delivered over home networks and OTT to PCs, Macs, iOS and Android devices.

Why this matters
TV Everywhere will get next to nowhere if security is not extended to a wide set of connected devices, and in a way that can be easily managed by MSOs and other service providers.

BSkyB and DirecTV are long-time NDS partners, so it's no surprise to see them lining up for VideoGuard Connect as they expand their TV Everywhere initiatives. Still, the new DRM system could open up more opportunities for NDS with U.S. cable operators, starting with those that already use its conditional access system or are interested in Open Media Security (OMS), a CableCARD-free, downloadable approach to video security that's starting to help NDS penetrate cable systems already based on the Motorola Mobility LLC or Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) platform.

Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) has already adopted the NDS conditional access system and OMS, making it a likely candidate for VideoGuard Connect. Cox Communications Inc. and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) have also shown some interest in OMS. "It's fair to say there is a dialogue going on with a number of MSOs in North America at the moment," Ranger says.

For more
Read more about TV Everywhere, OMS and NDS's U.S. cable ambitions



— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable



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