With our watermarking we ensure maximum security of your valuable video content and offer a breadth of solutions for all content delivery scenarios. In this post we’ll explain which of the three ASiD solutions (or a combination of those) – ASiD Embedded, ASiD OTT Client-composited or ASiD OTT Edge-switched – is best for your content protection needs.
In order to help our customers (broadcasters, content owners, service operators, etc.) to choose the most appropriate and efficient ASiD solution, we have developed guidelines that we call Trust Levels. These Trust Levels are based on your perceived trust in the security of the device and delivery method of your content:
In general, the more control you have of the device and delivery method, the more it is secure. So, broadcast devices in operator managed environments can be considered more secure than connected ones in an environment that is not managed by an operator with OTT devices or clients in an environment provided by a third-party being the least secure.
|Operator-Supplied & Managed||Trust Level 1||Trust Level 2||Trust Level 3|
|Hybrid Broadcast/IP STB|
|Operator-Supplied, Not Managed|
|OTT Apps (e.g. iOS/tvOS, Android, Fire TV)|
|OTT web-browser based|
You have probably noticed that IPTV STB and OTT-enabled STB appear twice in the table above. The two scenarios are managed and not managed client environments. For example, an Android TV-based hardware unit can be deployed as operator-managed with enclaves provided by Google to operators to secure code. In this case, ASiD generation and overlaying can happen in a more secure manner. Compare with Android TV-based hardware units that aren’t operator-managed and don’t have the same secure enclave. Generally, we consider them less trustworthy.
When we talk about “third-party” clients/devices, we mean the client environment that is not provided by our customer/”the operator” or ourselves. For example, an OTT app for mobile might run on iOS, so it’s “third-party” as Apple manages the device.
Once the Trust Level is identified, we recommend using a specific ASiD solution for maximum content and revenue protection. We recommend deploying ASiD Embedded to watermark content delivered to Trust Level 1 devices, ASiD OTT Client-composited for content delivered to Trust Level 2 devices/clients, and for Trust Level 3 devices/clients ASiD OTT Edge-switched can be the most suitable solution.
ASiD Embedded (client-only) – the watermark is generated and added to the video or embedded within the client.
ASiD OTT Client-composited (hybrid) – the watermark is generated at the server side before it’s added to the video or composited on top of it by the client.
ASiD OTT Edge-switched (server-only) – the watermark is generated at the server side using the A/B variant technique that implies mixing or switching A and B segments at the edge.
With general Trust Level guidelines as the basis for the decision making, we can drill down further to answer the questions on the overlaps. There are two of those.
First, where there is an overlap between Trust Level 1 and Trust Level 2, the question is how to choose between ASiD Embedded and ASiD OTT Client-composited?
It’s fairly simple. Can the STB operate without requiring an internet connection? Can a show broadcast, recorded or downloaded content be watched on the STB without an internet connection, or must there be an internet connection for this to happen?
If a guaranteed internet connection isn’t always required to watch content then ASiD Embedded should be deployed so that watermarks can be generated by the STB. However, if an internet connection is always required and content cannot be watched offline then the ASiD OTT Client-composited solution should be deployed.
Second, where there is an overlap between Trust Level 2 and Trust Level 3, the question is how to choose between ASiD OTT Client-composited and ASiD OTT Edge-switched?
It depends on the type of content that you want to protect. So, for VOD content, choosing between ASiD OTT Client-composited and ASiD OTT Edge-switched comes down to a few things, but in particular your distribution method and costs.
For example, if you have access to your client playback environment’s code, can keep it regularly updated, and have the appropriate security around it – then use Client-composited.
On the other hand, if you have little/no control of your client playback environment (can’t update code, or costs are prohibitive), or your playback happens through a third-party where there isn’t a possibility to add client code – then use Edge-switched.
For short-duration VOD content, however, Edge-switched is not suitable due to slow speed of extraction, so Client-composited needs to be considered instead.
For Live content, client-composited watermarking works fast – in seconds – resulting in ASiD OTT Client-composited being the perfect choice for live sports. Extraction times for the A/B variant style video watermarks need to be longer to cope with the temporal nature of this watermarking technique. Since ‘live’ content often needs to be protected in short turnaround, delay here is not desired.
Remember that the A or B bit is encoded for the duration of the segments in the delivery mechanism (e.g. HLS/DASH/Smooth). For example, consider the number of users you want to distinguish between, let’s say 5000 – which would take about 16 bits. A 6 second segment duration means that your ‘bit’ would be present for 6 seconds each. On top of 16 bits, you’d need additional bits for error correction, let’s say that doubles your bits to 32 bits. On top of that, you may want to use ‘traitor tracing’ algorithms (e.g. Amos Fiat, Gábor Tardos, etc.) – and that means you’d increase your bit sequence to a total of 100s, or 1000s, of bits depending on the algorithm chosen and the amount of protection you want to have. So let’s say that’s 500 bits at 6 seconds so that is 50 mins to transfer your unique subscriber sequence. For a live event or an on-demand programme, lasting only 30 mins your sequence would take longer and therefore not be usable for protection.
Whichever solution you choose, ASiD will provide you with the peace of mind that your valuable content is fully protected from theft and your revenue is not stolen by pirates.
To learn more about ASiD solutions talk to one of our specialists.
Image source: frames from (CC) Blender Foundation | mango.blender.org
This image is fictional: subscriber watermark should never contain any private information related to the subscriber. This unique identifier is anonymous to any third party and can only be used by video service provider when piracy is confirmed.
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