Sep 7, 2016

As with any breakthrough tier of consumer experience, Ultra High Definition services are starting to shake up the pay-TV landscape. Hand-in-hand, operators and technology vendors are blazing the trail to make the true UHD experience a reality for subscribers, and pieces of the puzzle appear to be settling into place. Pioneering many of the efforts of sorting through the complexity of service interoperability and operator migration is the Ultra HD Forum who are publishing a series recommendations that will help all parties make a smooth transition and maximize the commercial impact of UHD.

In this post, we’d like to narrow down the focus and highlight some of the security considerations that operators will face when looking to launch their own UHD services. Specifically, we will discuss the new Ultra Security tier of protection and how Ultra security addresses the recommendations published by Movielabs for this type of premium content.

An early initiative in the world of UHD security was the publication of the MovieLabs specifications for Enhanced Content Protection which established some key requirements for Ultra HD content. Verimatrix’s VCAS Ultra is the next-generation VCAS architecture that is designed to address these requirements. VCAS Ultra has recently been independently audited and validated against these UHD standards by the industry leading consultancy Farncombe.

Additionally, Verimatrix has established the Ultra Security certification program for UHD capable client devices. This program ensures an integrated approach to software and hardware subsystems and is key to meeting the aforementioned UHD security requirements. Our pre-integration and certification process helps speed time to market for operators launching UHD services because they have verified assurance that VCAS Ultra satisfies and exceeds industry requirements.   

For an operator to satisfy the new licensing requirements that are associated with UHD services, they should consider upgrading to VCAS Ultra to support the headend security regime, in conjunction with rolling out an Ultra Security Certified client device utilizing Verimatrix ViewRight Ultra client software. VCAS Ultra provides a fully up to date software and IP centric approach to service security that supports not only the new UHD service launches, but also provides highly costs effective security for services to the large base of existing client devices.

We often receive questions about the differences in Ultra security level compared to the regimes that have been used to protect HD services over recent years.

At a high level, Ultra security level is based on three supporting pillars – embedded hardware-based security, trusted software security, and forensic watermarking. But if we dig deeper, there are several core security aspects specific to the Ultra security level:

  1. Verified security architecture – with an independent audit of features and implementation
  2. Verimatrix specific keys and signatures are pre-integrated into the SoC at time of manufacture.
  3. Downloadable security support: The ability to update the key management logic of client devices using the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE).
  4. Pre-integrated VideoMark® Forensic Watermarking with hardware acceleration at the SoC level as a standard feature.

Leading chipset vendors, including Broadcom, Marvell, MStar, HiSilicon, ALi, etc. have introduced families of SoCs that support Ultra security. Set-top-box and TV vendors are introducing designs based on these chipsets.

The pieces of the UHD puzzle are starting to settle and there is a readiness in the industry; a readiness to see and experience the first truly Ultra High Definition pay-TV services. We’re ready. Are you?