With over 25 years’ experience in content protection and over 250M VideoGuard secured devices, we at Cisco know a thing or two about security. We are harnessing this knowledge to further develop VideoGuard DRM, an open, comprehensive solution built to meet the Pay TV provider’s unique needs.

For that reason, we’ve compiled our Top Six List of Things To Ask a Prospective DRM Provider.

  1. Is it capable of multi-platform protection? Some solutions may protect video on IP-based screens, like tablets, laptops and smart phones. Others may protect video running on traditional digital set-tops, built for QAM/MPEG-2 transport. The ideal solution bridges legacy and new, offering integrated security and seamless cross-device experience.
  2. How widely is it deployed? If so, ask for details. To how many client devices and on what types? For how long? What type of content is being protected? Is your type and brand of installed base included in their experience base? What were the major lessons learned, when integrating DRM across legacy and newer platforms?
  3. Are the major rights holders on board? Any DRM provider worth its salt will say yes to this. Getting the major movie studios on board is a given – but it’s important to know what that means, practically. Does the solution address the business enabling features such as user and device management? Stream concurrency controls? Can it support the individualized requirements of the respective content owners? Being the bridge between rights holders and service providers is serious business, because the protection it provides is what cements the business arrangements between the two and most importantly enables monetization of the service. Best to go in with a confident, experienced provider.
  4. Does it protect on-demand, linear programming and DVR services? This probably seems obvious, but just in case: Lots of DRM solutions exist for VOD streaming. But what about those linear channels, with different content rights for different events? What about pay-per-view events? Recorded programs (locally or in the cloud)? Sync-and-Go services? Streaming inside a home network over a gateway? Content sharing between multiple devices (QAM and IP)? I could go on and on. Make sure your list of use cases matches their capabilities.
  5. How much of an ordeal is it to integrate with existing security systems? A good DRM system is non-intrusive. Ask what the procedure is to link the DRM into your existing media framework and back-office systems. If it seems like more steps than necessary, raise the flag.
  6. How does it deal with “jail break” activities? We’re all familiar with the mobile phone “jail break,” generally used by those more brave, tech-savvy end customers to get at features that were otherwise gated out. Jail break detection is likewise common – as is software to defeat detection.  Make sure the DRM provider you choose offers a strong counter-jail-break solution otherwise you’ll have issues with acquiring the best content.

That’s it for the short-list. There’s a long list, too. Please! Ask me about it….


David Yates

as Director of Service Provider Video Marketing at Cisco