Hollywood studios have been itching to give consumers new early-release movies through VOD channels before they're available on DVD, and last year got FCC approval to do that, as long as they were offered through encrypted set-top boxes, or selectable output control.
Content security specialist Verimatrix today announced a new user-specific forensic watermarking product, StreamMark, which uses a server-side embedding process to mark compressed video files during delivery, even if the video files are encrypted.
StreamMark adds another layer of security to help combat piracy, and was developed in collaboration with major film studios.
The FCC decision is for a limited time, but offers studios an opportunity to evolve their movie distribution strategies. The waiver allows MSOs , satellite and IPTV operators, as well as OTT services, to offer content that can only be displayed on screens with HDMI connections protected via high-bandwidth digital content protection. Any analog or unprotected outputs from the STB device would be disabled during the viewing of that content.
StreamMark embeds tracing information in compressed content in an on-the-fly process during delivery to standard decoders and media players, providing the ability to trace illegitimate recordings by identifying the theater location and screening time. This helps deter repeat offenders and inside jobs. A mark can be added to H.264 or MPEG-2 stream-based video with negligible performance impact.
For consumer electronics devices, this streaming friendly tracing insertion approach means that no custom media player integration is required - the imperceptible marking information is rendered in all analog and digital outputs of off-the-shelf player devices.
"With new release windows come new piracy challenges," Verimatrix chief technology officer Petr Peterka said. "Studios are now insisting on a combination of [selectable output control] and forensic watermarking technologies that secure assets beyond the set-top."
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