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FairPlay vs. PlayReady vs. Widevine for DRM

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Learn more about DRM at Streaming Media West 2021.

Read the complete transcript of this video:

Tim Siglin: Can you just give a quick synopsis on sort of the differences between FairPlay and Widevine? I know Apple famously, years ago, had a hard block on content where you couldn't share it. And then Steve Jobs pushed to allow for FairPlay, which allowed you to share it to a certain level. Widevine, obviously, seems to be a much more traditional sort of hard lock, but can you give just a quick synopsis of either the top two or the top three?

Olga Kornienko: Well, at this point, most technologies do roughly the same thing. There are some minor variations of what you can and cannot do--mostly based on device, whether or not you can do all protection levels. But at the end of the day, most technologies are the same, with the exception being that if you are a DRM provider like us, Google and Microsoft give us the PlayReady certificates that we need to issue licenses and generate keys, whereas PlayReady and Apple dictate it in a different direction. They require content owners and content providers to actually get that same certificate. But outside of that, from a perspective of the technology itself, they are roughly the same, they work the same, and they are geared towards their own specific device. So PlayReady works much better on a Windows device, Widevine on a Chrome Google device or Android device, and then FairPlay for an Apple device.

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: Olga, let me just ask real quick. When you say it works better on those devices, what happens on the devices where it doesn't work as well?

Olga Kornienko: Well, I say "works better" from a perspective of--and this is the reason why we chose to go SDK-less--is that it takes out a level of complexity, the logic being that if Microsoft pushes out an update to the operating system, to the browser, to anything, they would test PlayReady as well. And the moment they push out a new update, first of all, it is obviously always backwards-compliant. And second of all, to add any new features or any new modifications does not require our clients to do anything, doesn't require them to update on an SDK, doesn't require any sort of work. It requires work on our backend to implement all the features, but once they implement that, it's also very seamless and it also takes away time that you would normally spend trying to add extra levels of development. For me, I think it works better only because it takes away unexpected issues, glitches, and complexities.

Tim Siglin: And I would add to that Eric, that SDK-less is a smart move because a lot of SDKs aren't very well-documented, and the SDK tends to come out after the operating system update. So there's this lag of a couple of weeks to a couple of months, sometimes even.

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: All right. Very good.

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