New White Paper: The New Technologies for Pay TV Content Security

I have just published a new white paper: The New Technologies for Pay TV Content Security.  This white paper was commissioned by Irdeto.

The 28-page paper describes the current state of the art of techniques for protecting video content delivered over pay television networks such as cable and satellite.  The two primary theses of the white paper are:

  • Pay TV often leads in content protection innovation over other media types and delivery modalities.  That is because, among other reasons, it is a fairly rare case where the economic interests of content owners and service providers are aligned: content owners don’t want their content used without authorization, and pay-TV operators don’t want their signals stolen.  Therefore pay-TV operators have incentives to implement strong and innovative content security solutions.
  • Before today, many content security schemes could be described as hack-it-and-it’s-broken (such as CSS for DVDs) or a cycle of hack-patch-hack-patch-etc. (such as AACS for Blu-ray or FairPlay for iTunes).  Now technologies are available that break the hack-patch-hack-patch cycle, thereby decreasing long-term costs (TCO) and complexity.

The white paper starts with a brief history of content protection technologies for digital pay TV, starting with the adoption of the Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) standard in 1994.  Then it describes various newer technologies, including building blocks like ECC (elliptical curve cryptography), flash memory, and secure silicon; and it describes new techniques such as individualization, renewability, diversity, and whitebox cryptography.  It ties these techniques together into the concept of security lifecycle services, which include breach response and monitoring.

The final section of the paper discusses fingerprinting and watermarking as two techniques that complement encryption as ways of finding unauthorized content “in the wild.”

My thanks to Irdeto for sponsoring this paper.

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