Media Encryption and DRM

Video and Digital Media

Media Encryption and DRM

Technology Overview

Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems provide content owners and producers with the ability to control how people can consume content. They enable a broad range of business models such as purchase, subscription, rental, playback on single and multiple platforms via streaming, downloading, and side-loading. They also provide control of playback modes, e.g. HDMI, as well storage, e.g. DVR. The main components of a DRM system are: encoder/packaging server, license server, and playback devices.

The encoder/packaging server produces the content by encoding the source video files into adaptive stream formats such as MPEG-DASH, HLS, and associated metadata in the form of a manifest. Encryption is also applied to protect the content for storage on the distribution servers as well as during streaming, downloading or other transfer. The encryption process utilizes keys associated with a specific DRM vendor that are provided by a license server.

Multi DRM servers are available by integrator companies offering time to market benefits bypassing development time and individual negotiation of the licensing terms with the DRM providers, e.g. Google (Widewine), Microsoft (PlayReady), Apple (Fairlplay), etc.

Playback devices are DRM-capable players that can communicate with the DRM system and enforce all software- and hardware-related playback features.

In order to play the content, the player sends the license request to the license server which communicates with an authentication server to validates the user’s rights to the content and creates the license/decryption key which is then returned to the license server and ultimately to the user’s player.

On mobile devices, DRM support may be available from the native browser or via a downloadable player app. For example, iOS devices use Apple’s DRM FairPlay via the Safari browser, but any other DRM can be incorporated in a custom app. Typically, Smart TVs, OTT boxes, and other consumer electronic devices support one or more DRM technologies.

For browser playback, DRMs traditionally have used plugins, e.g., Flash or PlayReady, however the industry is moving towards HTML-5 based integrated DRM via the Media Source Extensions (MSE) and Encrypted Media Extensions (EME). MSE is a W3C HTML Working Group specification for a JavaScript interface to playback media data that enables full adaptive streaming. EME is another JavaScript API that enables HTML5-based DRM by extending MSE with application programming interfaces (APIs) to control the playback of protected content by means of a content decryption module (CDM) which allows the browser or device to communicate directly with the license server.

Sample Capabilities

TechPats has experience in the analysis of DRM and media encryption. Our analysts have performed functional testing for various DRM and media encryption systems. Page Content/Notes

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