Letter exchanges in FCC’s DSTAC

The FCC DSTAC Committee was created to define downloadable security as a replacement for CableCard. Only there is disagreement as to the scope. The MVPDs (cable, satellite and IPTV providers) want to keep their service offer preserved as one package under their UI (no service “disaggregation”). Device makers and proponents of alternative service models see things more broadly and are of the view that individual service elements should be presentable and searchable by other UIs etc. (called “service theft” by the MVPDs).  Both have written letters (see here and here) to outline their positions to the DSTAC chairman.

Given that the cable card mandate will dissolve end 2015 the MVPDs are not under pressure. If the committee is to deliver (significant) recommendations to the FCC by September 4 it will be a tall order to define a truly open system given the MVPD opposition.

History is also on the side of the MVPDs. They “prevailed” in their strategy to effectively monopolize the user interface used to access their services (as an integrated offer) so far; starting back in 2003 with POD. The only thing that has seriously dented that has been the rise of smartphones, tablets and PCs – though MVPDs have been able to promulgate their service access UI to those devices now. And maybe analogously an open network infrastructure and competition in service offers (e.g. OTT) will be more effective than more regulation on proprietary networks. Which does not mean downloadable security does not have a place: the more open the service market the more important the role of downloadable security could be.

Source: Group to FCC: Avoid ‘Walled-Garden’ Approach to Video | Multichannel

Rovi Shareholder revolts

Rovi’s trouble is not over. After loosing 10 lawsuits against Virgin and some against Ziggo (and recently a preliminairy one against Netflix) in attempts to solidify their patent position in EPGs one of their larger shareholders (Engaged Capital) is saying it has to end. And they have had to propose alternative candidates to the board of director and succeeded in removing the sitting chairman.

As clearly outlined by their call to gain votes from the shareholders Rovi has not been doing well, and it seems it is no longer gaining any new ground (and even loosing ground it thought it had). See this new article from Engaged Capital (keeping in mind this company has a large stake in the future value of Rovi).
Source: Activist shareholders oust Rovi chairman

Posted in IPR

UHD: Playready 3.0 requires hardware

UHD is requiring better content protection technologies. Though protecting content in bilions of consumer devices will remain an almost impossible challenge new technologies try to do the best possible.

The current windows10 Playready3.0 will require hardware protection for all critical functions as the slide below shows:

  • fully protected content decoding./presentation path
  • root of trust & device binding
  • Crucial license & content key processing

The article in PCworld claims it may be too late for Microsoft top save the PC as playback device. Indeed: they may be right. But Playready also has a huge footprint in the online distribution and streaming space. Microsoft should take that interest seriously or risk loosing UHD there.

Playready3.0HWThe slide above clearly show the current trend in new protection architectures with more TEE and hardware technologies replacing software. It will be more difficult to break, but with the added risk that once broken it will be impossible to repair.

All about PlayReady 3.0, Microsoft’s secret plan to lock down 4K movies to your PC | PCWorld.