nagra - optimizing multiscreen tv delivery with a secure video player
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SECURE ENGAGING EVERYWHERE
OPTIMIZING MULTISCREEN TV DELIVERY WITH A
SECURE VIDEO PLAYER
WHITE PAPER - AUGUST 2015
3+ CE devices use a wide range of fast-evolving OS platforms, streaming standards, DRM products.
+ Pay-TV service providers face significant challenges in delivering OTT multiscreen services
to these ever-changing CE devices.
+ They are dependent on decisions taken by device manufacturers and sudden changes in browser or operating
platforms can be very disruptive and have a negative impact on pay-TV customers and service providers.
+ Googles recent withdrawal of support for the NPAPI plug-in on its Chrome browser is a case
in point and has caused problems for some leading pay-TV service providers.
+ Service providers could opt for common encryption DRMs for their OTT TV services, hoping to solve all their
interoperability issues, but this approach will only address part of the technical and business challenges.
+ A better option is an operator-controlled secure player solution delivered by a trusted content
security partner that ensures a consistent user experience across all devices while providing
value over the entire lifecycle of CE devices.
This paper looks at the market needs and challenges that pay-TV service providers face when deploying multiscreen
TV solutions on third-party consumer electronic (CE) devices such as PCs, tablets, and smartphones. It evaluates
the alternative solutions that are available for addressing the needs of both content owners and service customers,
and it examines the potential business benefits of choosing an operator-controlled solution delivered by a trusted
content-security partner. The paper is based around the following key themes :
NAGRA has published a range of additional information on the MediaLive Secure Player portal which can be
found at https://medialive.nagra.com.
To discuss your requirements for a Secure Player deployment in your organization, please contact your Account
Manager or email us at email@example.com
4CHALLENGE #1 : KEEPING CONTROL
OVER DEVICE PLATFORMS
Service providers are dependent upon strategic and
technological decisions taken by device manufacturers
and software providers. This can leave them vulnerable,
for example, to changes in browser platforms
used on PCs and to the Android and iOS operating
systems of mobile devices. This can also mean that
multiscreen TV applications that worked previously
may suddenly stop streaming content, creating havoc
with subscribers and leading to calls to customer-care
centers, dissatisfaction with the operator, damage to
its brand, and loss of revenue 1. Rather than cement
and strengthen the relationship between pay-TV service
providers and their customers, OTT TV if not deployed
carefully could potentially end up undermining
The latest example of this kind of potentially disruptive
change is Googles decision to implement the HTML5
Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) standard to manage
DRM content in the Chrome browser, while phasing
out support for the Netscape Plug-in API (NPAPI) (see
Case Study 1). The withdrawal of support for NPAPI
on which Microsofts Silverlight streaming media
application framework and its PlayReady DRM depend
will affect pay-TV subscribers whose service providers
use these players to provide video content within a
Chrome browser. Given that the share of the Google
Chrome PC browser users is estimated to be more than
52% 2 of a typical pay-TV operators subscriber base
and that Silverlight and PlayReady are widely used by
some service providers, this potentially presents a very
significant challenge. For example, Googles decision
led Sky and BT Sport to encourage their subscribers
to move from Chrome to Firefox or Internet Explorer 3.
The theoretical solution to the problem is greater OTT
standardization, which would enable service providers
to increase their efficiency and reduce the risk in
delivering OTT services. While there has been some
technical progress in simplifying streaming formats,
codecs, and DRM, the reality is that standardization is
an ever-evolving process that brings alignment over
time but is not the panacea to all market needs in the
short term. A more pragmatic approach is required.
CHALLENGE #2 : KEEPING CONTROL
OVER CONTENT SECURITY
Service providers also need to ensure that content
security standards are not compromised by choosing
a vertical, per-device, per-platform and per-browser
vendor approach, and that content licensing complexities
are not increased by having to deal with multiple DRM
vendors. Pay-TV service providers should not forget that
the very Silicon Valley giants (i.e. Apple, Google, and
Microsoft among others) that sometimes unilaterally
define their proprietary technologies are also their
competitors in delivering OTT TV. As a result, dependency
on the strategies of these companies increases business
risk levels for service providers.
OTT TV services are increasingly important to pay-TV service providers as they deploy multiscreen offerings to
complement their core services and to compete more effectively with Internet-based rivals. But delivering them
over consumer electronic (CE) devices such as PCs, tablets, smartphones, video game consoles, and smart TVs
presents several significant challenges regardless of the operators network type whether telco, cable, or
satellite. Many of these challenges result from the fact that unlike the pay-TV set-top-box environment service
providers do not have control of the open devices, which use a wide range of operating systems and standards.
CHALLENGES IN MAXIMIZING THE REACH OF OTT DEVICES
5CHALLENGE #3 : KEEPING CONTROL
OVER THE TV EXPERIENCE
Another fundamental requirement is the provision of
a consistent set of pay-TV-centric features and use
cases, available across all devices and platforms.
Such capabilities are best provided by a secure player,
with features such as multiple audio tracks, subtitles,
dynamic advertising, and trick modes, as well as use
cases such as casting or sharing between devices.
As well as streaming standards and DRMs, it is
important to include the overall and consistent control
of the TV experience delivered across multiple devices
that also interact with each other.
Understanding the longer-term implications of
technical decisions related to OTT and multiscreen
TV content delivery and their impact on business is
absolutely key for the success of service providers.
1 According to consulting firm nScreenMedia, US and European pay-TV operators are spending an estimated
$2.8 billion of their almost $10 billion annual network and maintenance expenses to directly address
multiscreen service delivery failures
2 An estimated 52% of World Wide Web users use Google Chrome as their browser on their personal
computers, according to StatCounter.com
3 Sky has no plans to fix Chrome compatibility after Googles Silverlight shun, The Inquirer, May 1, 2015
6Googles new Pepper Plug-in API (PPAPI), which
replaces NPAPI, is intended to increase security for
browsers as it provides a direct link to a sandboxed
environment where the code is executed Chromes
Native Client (NaCI) and provides greater stability, as
the code is executed in a separate thread rather than in
the main browser thread. It is also designed to facilitate
code portability across different platforms.
Googles justification for its action is that PPAPI/NaCl
is more advanced and allows plug-ins to work more
seamlessly and securely within Chrome. However, the
move needs to be considered in the context of the wider
commercial battle between Google and Microsoft and
the fact that it may push service providers towards
adopting Googles Widevine DRM.
NAGRAs new PPAPI/NaCI browser plug-in is packaged
as the NAGRA MediaLive Secure Player for Chrome,
and integrates NAGRA anyCAST PRM, NAGRAs studio-
approved DRM. It is fully compliant with the new HTML5
Chrome browser security architecture. The secure-
player browser plug-in is delivered as a Chrome
extension via the online Chrome Web Store, so it can be
easily installed by end-users. Updates are performed
via the operators Chrome Web Store account and easily
installed to the end-users Chrome browser.
With this solution, NAGRA ensures that pay-TV service
providers who had been using Silverlight and PlayReady
can continue to provide video services to their Chrome
customers with only a simple action required by the
subscriber. As a result, service providers do not have
to adopt another DRM (i.e.Google Widevine) and player
or point their subscribers to use Firefox, IE or Safari