In the early days of audio and video recording, the limitations of analogue devices provided a fairly high level of content protection by ensuring that any captured signal was either inferior to the original or fairly soon became so. Optical digital media changed all that, allowing practically perfect copies of speech, music, still images and moving video to be recorded with little fear of short-to-medium term deterioration. CDs and DVDs are recognised as relatively safe media for audio and image archiving, free from the danger of high-frequency signal fade inherent in in magnetic tape media.
That was the good news. The bad news is that we are all living in a pirate's paradise. I took some time out during my IBC peregrination to see what the show had to offer in terms of content protection technology.
Autonomy Virage's 'IDOL' data security system is claimed to form a conceptual and contextual understanding of content in any file format, text or voice-based, structured or unstructured , regardless of where it is stored, how it was created, or which application is associated with the data. IDOL can discern relationships between disparate data types and form connections that allow identification of security breaches that previously hinged on costly and unreliable manual labour.
Conax CAS7 Fingerprinting option enables operators to embed unique fingerprints in the video stream out of the reception device. The operator may then use fingerprint detection to identify reception device from which the content origins. Unlike standard Conax CAS7 embedded set-top boxes (STBs), Conax embedded STBs with Fingerprinting have to be configured with Conax CAS7 Pairing. Therefore, Conax STBs with pairing must be specifically produced. Hannu Pro Bulgaria, a daughter company of Hannu-Pro Latvia and a leading system integrator in the Baltic States, was recently awarded the tender for the second phase of a Bulgarian DTT project. Hannu Pro Bulgaria intends to use a Conax solution for deployment of 3 MUX SFN networks, which will cover 96% of Bulgarian territory by 2015. Conax will also provide operational content security for services marketed by Eutelsat visAvision. The content security for the DTT platform will be managed by Conax, in Oslo.
Philips VTrack watermarking technology embeds video with an invisible watermark that identifies the time, place and location of the viewing. Making even a camcorder copy of video material traceable and thereby decreasing the risk of piracy, Philips diminishes content providers’ concerns and is working to secure HD media for early release to hoteliers. VTrack is imperceptible to the human eye. The watermarking data can be retrieved from the illegal copied material using a dedicated watermark detector, even if the video is poorly captured, compressed and severely degraded. The data pinpoints the time and (Philips claims) even the individual receiver from which the video was recorded. Thus, if a video shows up on the Internet or on pirated DVDs, content owners and copyright enforcement agencies can use the VTrack watermark data to determine where and when it was recorded.
Quative is part of the Kudelski group, long associated with some of the best analogue audio recorders ever made. Quative's Service Delivery Platform (SDP) is uses a service oriented architecture by which core services are defined and implemented including authentication, subscriber, policy management and provisioning, which are then commonly accessed by application services such as broadcast, PPV, PVR, VOD/SVOD, and messaging. The platform supports a web services based and fully documented backend API to integrate with billing, rating, CRM, network management, content management and content protection. The system has a comprehensive device gateway function which is able to adopt a different service mix to various types of STBs. Besides STBs, the device gateway also supports a web client for PCs and mobile devices. Other client middleware options can be supported on request.
SecureMedia specialises in open content protection software for secure video and multimedia delivery over IP networks and Appear TV. Its Encryptonite ONE System with SecureCast DVB Simulcrypt support is now integrated with Appear TV’s SC2000/SC2100 Professional DVB and AES Scramblers. The combination is claimed to offer cable, satellite, terrestrial or other network operators one of the most effective and secure reception and streaming solution currently available. Built around a modular platform hosting a wide selection of modules, Appear TV’s SC2000/SC2100 can be configured as a turnkey head-end, or as a standalone system. It is suitable for digital TV broadcast over FTTH, ADSL2+/VDSL and for cable operators moving towards IP distribution. Innovations include platform extensions that allow for selectable digital forensics to track, identify and deter piracy of valued content (IdentiFind), support for DVB Simulcrypt enabling DVB-T,-C,-S and -H services (SecureCast), rapid middleware integration to speed time-to-market (CodeConnect), and configurable security parameters for diverse quality content (TrustAdjust).
Verimatrix VCAS for DVB enables pay-TV operators to combine standards-based Digital Video Broadcasting technology for broadcast distribution with the interactivity of IP-based networks using a modular security system supporting multiple network topologies from a single head-end: cable, satellite and terrestrial broadcast networks without a return channel, hybrid networks with IP return channel supporting higher value subscribers with interactive capabilities and video-on-demand (VOD), as well as combinations of broadcast and hybrid networks. VCAS for DVB is an integral part of the Verimatrix 3D Content Security strategy, which addresses three key success factors for pay-TV operators: Multi-network content delivery, device diversity and threat detection and elimination. VCAS for DVB comprises head-end and set-top box (STB) components, with the latter offering a choice between a software-based STB client and removable hardware-based security (smart/SIM card, USB dongle).
Viaccess, a France Telecom subsidiary specialising in conditional access, announced at IBC a co-operative venture with Neotion, provider of MPEG-4 processors, to support Common Interface+ (CI Plus) on conditional access modules. CI Plus is designed to add strong copy-protection for HDTV plus numerous tools to maintain a control of device access.
The long-term outlook for data content protection meanwhile looks decidedly dodgy given the interest expressed by some of the world's largest IP service corporates in acquiring for very small sums the right to distribute creative content online. This has begun already with the written word. Audio and film content is bound to follow.