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Content Security – Going native or proprietary?

Now that the world is going to ABR unicast streaming with many companies trying to be the Netflix of “insert niche market here”, the important content security can be cumbersome. The solution using Digital Rights Management leads to different routes.

If you’re implementing a system where you have total control, like a traditional STB, you can integrate a secure player from a security company, based on CA or DRM technologies. That will present a clear liability track between the parties. That is very much like almost everyone has done for many years particularly in the traditional Pay TV space.

With the OTT world, many take advantage of the security provided natively by the targeted platform, for example Android, PC, Mac or iOS. Meaning that if you go for Android devices (Smartphone, Tablets or STBs), there’s a high chance that you will use Widevine. In this case, the liability and solutions for security issue fixes is not that clear.

Take into account the recent issue where an expired Widevine license for a content asset can become valid again, through changing the clock of the device to the timestamp where the original license was issued (https://github.com/google/ExoPlayer/issues/2622). Google has confirmed and corrected the issue, but (apparently) only on Android O MR1 or later, meaning 8.1. All previous versions have the issue and without a fix.

It’s true that you must test the platforms/apps so that you can detect these issues and not become liable for contract breaches, but with a serious issue like this, there are business cases that can break. And IF a security breach does happen, who’s liable? And if your supplier does not upgrade previous SW versions or you can’t support the latest and greatest, how do you resolve this?

Security is a big umbrella that many take for granted assuming that it comes working out of the box, but when the fix does not then you need strategies technically, operationally and from a business perspective to deal with the issue. This is where we can help, get in touch to discuss further.

Fairmile West is a Consulting company focused on working in the Consumer Device and Video arena. We work with clients on technology strategy and product delivery through key practices in Consumer Devices and Video Services. If you are interested in learning more about what we do, please do get in touch via our website – Contact us. You can also keep track with what interests us in the industry by following our Link blog at TV Tech News, and you can specifically follow news on Ultra HD via the following link – Ultra HD News.

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