Tag Archives: Civolution

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.

IBC Report – Civolution water-marking technology poised for Q1 2010 rollout with major US pay-TV operator

The first large-scale deployment of watermarking technology in the pay-TV world should take place in the US in Q1 next year, Connected TV has learned.

Watermarking is a technique which embeds invisible identifiers into broadcast and other content, which can survive multiple transmission, compression and copying stages, in order to identify the sources of pirated material. Each device in the pre-production, production and transmission chain, all the way down to individual set-top boxes, can be given a unique code to pinpoint where the ‘leak’ has taken place.

Speaking at IBC, Alex Terpstra, CEO of Philips watermarking spin-off Civolution, declined to name the US operator in question, but said the Civolution solution it would be supplying is a hybrid one, integrating the technology at the encoder end and the set-top box. This means that as well as identifying piracy taking place at the headend, any set-top box used to illegally re-distribute protected material  can be precisely identified.

“There will be deployments in the field, we hope, in Q1 in North America,” he said. “I believe it is a break-through in the development of this industry.” The water-marking technology will be targeted at  protecting HDTV content.

Previously, except for a few small-scale IPTV deployments where watermarking is integrated into the DRM system , such content identification technologies have been confined to the pre-release market.

Examples include protecting preview copies of films given limited distribution before events such as the Oscars or the Cannes Film Festival, or content aimed at in-hotel distribution (where premium movies are made available before standard pay-per-view and pay-TV release windows).

Terprstra said the fact that the technology was now mature would permit new business models: for example, consumers might be happy to pay a premium to watch a movie at home in VOD mode while (or even before) it was being shown in the cinema. Previously, the studios might have been reluctant to allow this to happen without some sort of guarantee that piracy risks were being addressed.

At IBC, Civolution also announced that Taiwanese company MStar Semiconductor had become the first chipset maker to integrate NexGuard – Civolution’s core watermarking technology – in hardware, as part of its MSD3A11 chipset.