Irdeto reports set-top based piracy, a la carte demand both on the rise

Even as it issued a report at CES noting the growth in demand for a "mixture of a la carte Internet TV and pay TV services," Irdeto revealed the underbelly of this new growth: easy set-top box piracy.

Irdeto reported that by 2020 only 18 percent of U.S. consumers will access content solely through a traditional pay TV service, preferring instead a mix of a la carte Internet TV and pay TV.  In fact, the survey--which was conducted by questioning more than 4,700 adults--indicates that consumers may not even watch TV on a TV.

"Fifty-two percent of U.S. respondents own or plan to own a smartphone, followed by tablets (36 percent), game consoles (26 percent) and smart TVs (17 percent)," an Irdeto press release revealed.

Of course non-traditional viewing trends will skew to a younger demographic.

"Access from multiple devices and the ability to watch multiple episodes at once are stronger drivers among younger consumers, with 53 percent of U.S. 18-34-year-olds citing more devices and 47 percent citing multiple episodes as their reasons for choosing Internet TV," the press release said.

This growth has a dark side, Irdeto Security Director Mark Mulready said in a presentation at an off-site suite at the gadget show: "Online piracy is now a lean back experience."

Mulready's presentation, which also offered Irdeto as an anti-piracy savior, showed over-the-top piracy is becoming increasingly easy for consumers and profitable for pirates using mobile devices and set-top boxes, a story in Streaming Media reported.

"The demonstration shows several set-top boxes and websites for pirate subscription services that are so similar to legitimate products that many people might not realize they're streaming illegal content," the story continued.

Consumers know what they're getting when they purchase 12-month subscriptions for $300 to $700 for pirate set-top boxes or load third party apps into unsecure platforms. Brazil, the U.S. and France are the leading markets for pirated shows, the story said.

"These devices are mainstream," Mulready said, pointing to pirate set-tops. "They are a direct replacement to your paid media set-top box in your living room. No longer do you have to get on your laptop or computer and look for pirated streams. It's lean back versus lean forward."

For more:
- see this Irdeto press release
- see this Streaming Media story

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Google tweaks search algorithms to fight online piracy
UK scraps its 'three strikes' piracy plan, brings in softer guidelines

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