Widevine Locks In Dish 'TV Everywhere' Deal
Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has taken the lead on TV Everywhere services, but several cable competitors, including Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV), and now Dish, have similar projects well underway. (See Comcast's 'Xfinity' Goes Live and Comcast to Expand 'Xfinity' to DSL Subs.)
Dish already offers a TV Everywhere-esque service thanks to a recently launched "SlingLoaded" HD-DVR called the ViP922 that retails for $649 and allows Dish subscribers to place-shift linear programming and shows and movies that are recorded on the box's hard drive. However, the satellite TV giant has a broader play in mind as it gets ready to launch a Web-based video portal that will stream premium video to customer-owned PCs, smartphones, and other broadband-connected, mobile devices. (See Dish Starts Selling 'Sling-Loaded' HD-DVR .)
Dish hasn't said much about that Web-fueled offer but did tell Multichannel News late last week that it intends to introduce it sometime this summer.
Widevine hasn't been formally identified as the DRM for the ViP922, but it's the obvious candidate. However, it is firmly on board to provide Dish's Web-based TV Everywhere product with some key components, including security, "trick play" components (pause, fast-forward, rewind, etc.), and adaptive streaming, which determines video bit-rate feeds based on the quality of the user's broadband connection, and makes those decisions on-the-fly.
Widevine gets into the TV Everywhere swing
Dish is Widevine's latest major customer of note, as the video security and software specialist continues to pick up steam with managed video service providers and a larger group of over-the-top TV players.
Among other recent biggies, Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) recently confirmed its use of Widevine's security and video optimization products. Netflix, for example, is using the Widevine DRM to protect "Watch Instantly" content that's being streamed to Nintendo of America Inc. Wii gaming consoles. (See Widevine Ties Up Web TV Deals.)
Irdeto Access B.V. is also involved with Netflix, providing its "Cloakware" technology to help safeguard the video streaming service. However, Netflix is only using Cloakware's key-hiding properties in tandem with content that's being streamed to PCs using the Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Windows Media DRM. Widevine's platform combines the underlying DRM with a code obfuscation element that prevents the security platform from being reverse-engineered. (See Netflix Tries On Irdeto's Cloakware.)
Widevine's technology has also found homes in several other broadband video devices, including Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhones, iPod Touchs, iPads, and some Macs; LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) and Samsung Corp. TVs and Blu-ray players; and Royal Philips Electronics N.V. (NYSE: PHG; Amsterdam: PHI) and Toshiba Corp. (Tokyo: 6502) Blu-ray players, among others.
Widevine's software supports north of 140 million devices, Widevine CEO Brian Baker told Light Reading Cable in an interview late last month.
Baker also noted that Widevine is involved with a number of TV Everywhere trials with still unnamed major cable and telco TV operators, including some projects that are looking to provide broader TV Everywhere services that include the ability to securely deliver live, linear video via the Internet in a "virtual MSO" manner.
Comcast is believed to be one of several US operators that's developing a managed, over-the-top service that can be marketed outside its traditional cable footprint. Some small and mid-sized MSOs, meanwhile, are starting to warm to the idea of a "dumb pipe" model in which they provide the raw connections while third parties provide the content and negotiate the tricky carriage contracts. (See Comcast Forges 'Excalibur' for IPTV and Indie MSOs Plug ‘Dumb Pipe’ Video Model.)
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable