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Video software

Locking Up Cable Web TV

10:20 AM -- It's sure to have plenty of competitive company on the matter, but Cloakware Corp. , a division of encryption and conditional access specialist Irdeto Access B.V. , is coming to market with a platform that it thinks will help cable MSOs protect and monetize their budding broadband TV efforts. Cloakware hopes to win some business with a media player outfitted with DTCP-IP (Digital Transmission Content Protection-Internet Protocol), a digital protection mode that's already approved by CableLabs . (See Cloakware Offers Web TV Security and CableLabs Okays DTCP-IP.) As designed, DTCP secures the links of consumer electronics devices for personal use, aiming to prevent unauthorized copying and thwart other aspects of digital piracy. The CableLabs approval in September 2007 covered the use of cable content delivered over IP to both unidirectional and bidirectional "digital cable products," most likely to include everything from set-tops and gateways with broadband connections to PCs and handsets. Irdeto, like other conditional access and encryption firms, likely sees cable's eventual move to IP-based video a window of opportunity as MSOs mull the use of digital rights management (DRM) systems that fall outside U.S. cable's Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) / Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) conditional access duopoly. And Irdeto will be far from alone here. Companies like NDS Ltd. , Nagravision SA , Verimatrix Inc. , and Widevine Technologies Inc. will want a say, too. And no one expects Moto and Cisco to sit by idly and not try to come in with DRM systems and architectures that address cable's broadband video ambitions. Interestingly, though, Irdeto says its DTCP-IP approach/architecture allows for the integration with multiple DRM systems. But we're still in the early going, so any announcements now likely represent competitive posturing more than an indication that a deal's about to pop. Among the majors, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has only recently kicked off a tech trial for its OnDemand Online service with 5,000 users. Although Comcast expects to expand that this fall, it probably isn't ready to throw all its weight behind one vendor's digital protection scheme over another. (See Comcast Speeds Up '09 Wideband Goal and Time Warner, Comcast Team Up for TV Everywhere.) But count Irdeto/Cloakware as one firm that has officially tossed its hat in the ring. — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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