Tag Archives: broadcast flag

Verimatrix introduces StreamMark watermarking to protect early-release premium VOD

Security solutions provider Verimatrix has launched its new watermarking technology, StreamMark, to address the embryonic market for ‘early release’ premium VOD content in the USA.
The new market was engendered by an FCC waiver last year which allowed cable operators to use so-called “selectable output control” technology to prevent viewers from recording a movie while being shown on a TV set.
The studios had been reluctant to allow premium VOD content to be released ahead of the standard four-month moratorium between first-run theatrical showings and home video release without such a blocking technology being allowed.
The FCC’s attempt to introduce a similar control measure, the ‘broadcast flag‘, was over-turned by a court ruling in 2005.
StreamMark’s notable features appear to be that it works server-side (rather than in the set-top box), and can be applied to encrypted content without the need to access the keys, using a process called ‘byte replacement’.
The idea is that for each movie the system provides a set of marked/altered frames to substitute for the original ones. Then, each time the movie is streamed, the system designates a unique subset of these frames to be replaced on the fly at the server.
This unique combination of substituted frames identifies each one-to-one stream, and therefore the user ordering it.
If that stream is pirated – for example by the user recording the movie off their HDTV display using an HD camcorder and making it available online – the watermark should persist, revealing the identify of the pirating household.
ADD: Within days of the Verimatrix announcement, VOD specialists SeaChange International and watermarking firm Civolution said they would be collaborating to offer the latter’s NexGuard forensic watermarking for premium video-on-demand (VOD), targeted at cable operators looking to launch early release content.