More DRM Flexibility Now Available for Ultraviolet
We all agree that standardization is generally a good idea as it helps move the industry forward through ubiquitous interoperability and rich ecosystem of vendors. We could see that at NAB 2012, MPEG-DASH posters and banners plastered the Halls, but more importantly real demos were behind every corner. Partners of ours such as Harmonic, Envivio, NXP, Akamai and many others showed that standardized streaming is not just a dream but rather becoming a reality.
MPEG-DASH is a natural evolution from currently deployed solutions, such as Smooth Streaming and HTTP Live Streaming (HLS). It is still to be seen when Apple decides to support it on iOS devices but at least the MPEG-2 TS profile of MPEG-DASH should be possible to support on iOS in near future (most likely via third party adapters). Many other standards organizations, such as DTG, HbbTV, OIPF, are considering adopting DASH as well.
What was even more interesting at Digital Hollywood Spring were all the talks about how DECE’s Ultraviolet (UV) is taking off, especially with Wal-Mart/Vudu participation. The fascinating reality is that most of current UV deployments are streaming rather than downloads.
This is telling me that people may want to own content, but they do not want to deal with the hassle of downloading large video files, copying them to other devices, worrying about backups, etc. Users want “the cloud” (OK, the UV Coordinator or Rights Locker) to manage the ownership rights such that they can stream all content they own anytime, anywhere and to any device, worry-free.
This brings me to the issue of DRM for streaming. DECE has also been defining a common streaming format (CSF) – hopefully compatible with MPEG-DASH – and it already approved 6 streaming content protection technologies (besides the pre-approved 5 DRM technologies for download) based on current industry deployments. This list includes the Verimatrix VCAS 3 security solution. (You can download the most current public specs here.)
So it seems to me that UV may take off primarily as a streaming use case with already deployed content protection solutions (read DRMs). Therefore, more than 500 operator customers around the world that are already using VCAS have an easy evolution path via the DECE LASP (Locker Access Streaming Provider-read more about LASP here) role, IPTV or HLS streaming and eventually MPEG-DASH.
These progressive service providers will be able to offer all the benefits of UV to millions of existing and new customers not only via traditional STBs but also tablets, PCs, Macs, iOS devices, connected TVs, etc.
I wish all evolutions were this easy.