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May 8, 2012

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NAB 2012: Multi-screen Stays in the Spotlight

As the dust finally settles from NAB, I'd like to reflect on the key themes we saw from this year's show.  As we have witnessed at many shows earlier this year multi-network, multi-screen video services have continued to serve as “must have” features on the roadmap of service operators.  In the past year or so, we have seen multi-screen evolve from somewhat of an experiment to an absolute requirement to become (or remain) competitive.  While many of the issues surrounding DRM are being resolved, content security remains a critical, and complex piece of the puzzle.  There's an increasing awareness of what it takes to provide comprehensive content and revenue security, but our industry as a whole needs to continue to work to ensure that content is protected from end-to-end.

  • Multi-screen security was quite the hot topic at the latest installment of our Multi-Network Solutions in the Real World series, where an esteemed panel of industry experts from Sony Pictures, Harmonic and Akamai, discussed the trends that are currently shaping today’s multi-screen, multi-network deployments.  The panel provided detailed examples of real world deployments, including those related to content rights management and delivery standards, such as MPEG-DASH. Spencer Stephens of Sony did a great job of portraying the complexity of the ecosystem required to deploy these advanced services. Check out the video interviews with the panelists.
  • Standards MPEG-DASH, UltraViolet & HTML 5 have made great strides in simplifying life for both the content provider or operator as well as the CE vendor.  As those standards gel, and a common set of business rules is developed, the numbers of interconnections that need to be made is reduced, greatly simplifying the delivery of premium content.
  • A common topic during press and analyst briefings was leveraging device authentication for HLS as a cornerstone of the Verimatrix enhanced HLS security.  We are very excited about this approach as it meets studio requirements to assure that subscriber account credentials are not being illegitimately shared.

    Robust device authentication capabilities, coupled with secure subscriber entitlement management, positively reinforces licensing requirements that increasingly demand counting and limiting the number of devices concurrently authenticated against a given subscriber account. Verimatrix is currently rolling out some 30 OTT projects based on HLS around the world. If you'd like to learn more about our approach on this, please check out Steve Christian's recent blog posts.

  • Future-proofing your network has never been more important.  We live in a multi-DRM world, as exemplified by both Marlin and PlayReady being chosen by DECE for the UltraViolet service. Choosing a flexible revenue security solution that can support both, therefore, is critical. We are proud to be the only company with concrete support for both in addition to, of course, our commitment to HLS and – as it evolves – MPEG-DASH. If you add to this the Verimatrix cross-DRM support for Subscriber Super Domains, which involve automatic entitlement to all a subscriber domain’s devices regardless of DRM and network connectivity, operators are as future proof as possible while enabling the friction less viewing experience consumers expect.
  • And finally it seems that the demos get better and better every year, and 2012 was no exception!  In particular, Dolby’s 3D television demo stands out in my mind as exceptional.  No glasses, no headaches, viewing from any angle.  The initial demo was on a 55” Philips TV and videos were instantly immersive, with none of the usual 3D disorientation.  Also notable was the fact that the demo also included a 9” tablet and a smartphone screen. Impressive!

All in all, it was a great show --- well-attended and full of valuable content.  Drop us a line and let us know if you observed any strong themes emerging from the show as well.  We're always keen to hear if we're on target. Also, we'll be heading to ANGA Cable, NexTV's South America SummitBroadcast Asia and CommunicAsia next month --- give us a shout if you would like to arrange a meeting.

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