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Evaluating DRM Support in Encoders, Servers and Players

Posted by Andrew Popov on Sep 1, 2020 9:00:00 AM

Are you an over-the-top (OTT) content provider looking to ensure your content is protected and secure?

That means working with an experienced digital rights management (DRM) company that has the products, features and industry track record needed to provide content that is reliable, easy to play back on multiple devices and compliant with contractual obligations.

Too often, content providers choose a multi-DRM solution that does not contain all the necessary components for secure DRM protection. Your content needs DRM support for each essential component. If your solution does not, you can end up with a solution that is non-compliant with your content agreements.

When you're looking for encoders, servers or players, be sure that you have the right DRM support. At a minimum, be sure to look for a vendor that provides a complete range of services and products.

Ideally, look for an encoder, server or player that supports a multi-DRM solution that offers the three consumer DRMs at a minimum -- Apple's FairPlay, Google's Widevine and Microsoft's PlayReady. That means building a solution that offers encryption software, encoding and encryption workflows and support for multiple file formats. The last thing you want is a solution that does not support playback on devices and encryption types needed for your content.

Encoders and DRM

Often, a third-party encoder platform has multiple software layers to manage the settings, inputs, outputs, resource management and DRM requirements. The user interface for your encoder needs to allow for the selection of DRM types and providers you'll use. That means having the right encryption protocols, either a manual process or an API, that allows encryption keys to be delivered.

However, the former process is often less secure and fraught with errors. The latter can be cumbersome. A better solution is to look for an encoder that uses a DRM provider's key management API for encryption. Be sure to ask the following:

  • How does your encoder handle encryption key management -- manually or automated? How are encryption keys stored and used?
  • What formats does the encoder support?
  • What DRM systems does the encoder support?

Servers and DRM

When it comes to choosing a server solution that provides adequate DRM support, you need to consider many of the same issues as when selecting an encoder. Your server needs to use AES 128-bit encryption and mode tied to the consumer DRM in play and a secure and scalable means of inputting the encryption keys. Again, the ideal choice is to use a DRM provider's API; the server vendor should have code that is written using industry security standards (such as SOAP or CPIX) that allows the server to securely acquire the encryption keys.

The server would then use these keys to deliver live or on-demand streaming. The content can be pre-encrypted as it is uploaded and stored on the server. This option is more secure, due to the lack of unencrypted content stored on the server.

In the just-in-time encryption model, servers generate the first few chunks of content and begin encrypting and feeding them to players. This system is susceptible to performance issues during peak demand times and requires more security to keep content protected.

Players and DRM

Playback is the reward for streaming content. When choosing a player for your content service, it's important to understand the DRM requirements needed to ensure seamless playback.

The challenge is that not all browsers, smart TVs and operating systems support all playback modes. That's why you need a player that offers DRM support in the form of an API that allows you to build robust workflows that are flexible and customizable. Your DRM support needs to allow for protected playback with maximized browser and device coverage.

At BuyDRM, we offer multi-DRM solutions for your OTT streaming services. To learn more about our DRM services and solutions and how to integrate with your product offerings, contact us today.

For more information about our KeyOS ESP Partner Program, which includes many of the best Encoders, Servers and Players in the marketplace with DRM support, please visit: https://www.buydrm.com/partners/keyos-esp-partners

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