Video Watermarking for User-Specific Forensic Tracking
Utilizing a secure set-top box (STB) or other client device is a prerequisite for premium pay-TV services, but it is also a common point of attack for potential hackers. The unique characteristics of a secure distribution channel provides an opportunity to use multi-layered protection schemes, in contrast to other mass distribution formats such as DVD and tape.
The patented VideoMark technology (US patent no. 7430302) is designed to embed watermarks in client devices. VideoMark user-specific watermarking is a solution that securely, robustly and imperceptibly hides detailed serialization information within high value media content at the point of display. VideoMark data can help establish a virtual “chain of custody” for content that accurately identifies the source of unauthorized copies, and provides a valuable deterrent in the fight against piracy.
Using only a fraction of the device CPU power, VideoMark enables real-time insertion of a payload within the baseband video output of the client device. The payload is present in all digital and analog output signals while invisible to the viewer. VideoMark insertion can be controlled on a program by program basis through information embedded in the transport stream alongside other video copy control parameters.
The approach taken in the insertion process means very little information is changed on a frame-by-frame basis, maintaining the unique VideoMark combination of invisibility and extreme robustness against attacks by re-compression, aspect ratio manipulation and filtering. In practice, the VideoMark payload can still be extracted from extremely low-grade analog copies of the original movie. The information contained can be used to trace back to the time and device where the copy was originally made.
VideoMark is an integrated component of VCAS, and a part of the layered Verimatrix security architecture. It can also be deployed as a complementary security technology within existing broadcast systems, while also independent of broadcast standards.
- Robust image based insertion approach defeats tampering or “washing” attacks
- Imperceptible mark insertion with no impact on enjoyment of the video services
- Secure payload generation ensure accurate tracing of illegitimate copies without raising privacy concerns
- Software-only architecture enables cost effective upgrade of existing STB deployments