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Verimatrix shifts the watermarking goalposts with studio help

US DRM specialist Verimatrix first talked about its prowess in video watermarking in 2005 with its VideoMark system, and since then it’s been a perman

By PETER WHITE

Published: 9 June, 2011

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US DRM specialist Verimatrix first talked about its prowess in video watermarking in 2005 with its VideoMark system, and since then it’s been a permanent feature of its marketing, a second way of holding back piracy, to work alongside encryption, effective even after recording an analog TV signal, so that the set top which produced it could be identified when the file was found pirated on the internet.

But what it hasn’t had until now, is a server side product, important because when a stream or video download are delivered to a device which has too little processing power to insert identifying features on the fly, or which requires no specialized media player with Verimatrix software embedded in it, it can still protect a stream.

The only company that we know of which has something like this is Civolution, the Philips spin out, which has something similar in its NexGuard watermark pre-processing technology, which it sometimes combines with adaptive steaming services. It has recently used this video watermarking for early-release premium content offered by major Hollywood studios as “Home Premiere.”

This technology inserts identifying marks into each stream of content, so that whatever the device, the content can be identified in the wild, if the user pirates the content. Verimatrix has now introduced its own version called StreamMark and says that it was developed in collaboration with major film studios, and is specifically designed to enable early release windows for premium VoD content, s direct rival to Civolution.

Verimatrix says that its new system is streaming friendly and means that no custom media player integration is required – the imperceptible marking information is rendered in all analog and digital outputs from any off-the-shelf player.

StreamMark is now patent-pending and Verimatrix says it uses a highly efficient server-side embedding process to uniquely mark compressed video files during delivery, even if the video files are encrypted. Verimatrix will be showing the product off next week at the CableNET show in Chicago.

The StreamMark embedding process has a very low overhead so can be added to an H.264 or MPEG 2 stream with negligible performance impact. When Verimatrix introduced VideoMark, at the time set top processors had to calculate which frames they had the spare processing capacity to write a watermark on. Verimatrix says that StreamMark can be easily integrated in existing infrastructure.

These patents might prove important since almost every content protection company will have to offer this type of service built into its OTT VoD services.

Petr Peterka, CTO of Verimatrix said, “Studios are now insisting on a combination of selectable output control (SOC) and forensic watermarking technologies that secure assets beyond the set-top. StreamMark meets this challenge by offering an efficient server-side watermarking technique that enables unique file delivery on a large scale basis on existing networks.”

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