Irdeto Provides Content Protection on Logitech's Google TV Device

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Rishi Chandra, product lead for Google TV at Google, has had a whirlwind few weeks; I've seen him at Adobe MAX 2010 and Streaming Media West 2010, both in Los Angeles, and again at NewTeeVee Live this week in San Francisco.

One of the services of Google TV that Rishi touts is the Netflix Watch Instantly streaming service, and one of the boxes that he showcases it on is the Logitech Revue.

Named for the musical acts of the 1930s, which combined song, dance, and other variety acts, the Revue is Logitech's foray into bringing the web to the television screen, often referred to as over-the-top video (OTT) or web channels. Logitech refers to it as a companion box rather than a set-top box, as it's designed to bring the web to the living room, via a "channel" concept on the Revue box.

Between Chandra's demonstrations and those of Jennifer Taylor, Adobe's senior director of product management for rich media solutions, I've now seen the Revue demonstrated four times in the space of two weeks, and I look forward to reviewing the device in the next few weeks. In the meantime, I was curious to discuss the security implementations of premium content on this new box.

Yesterday I spoke with Irdeto, which announced today that it is providing its Cloakware technology to protect apps-based premium content on the Logitech Revue.

Irdeto, with its history in the controlled-access market for cable television operators, has previously announced that it's been working with Netflix, but today's announcement is as much about the Revue itself as it is the Netflix app within the box.

"We worked closely with Logitech to ensure that sensitive assets are protected from tampering," says Jan Steenkamp, Irdeto's vice president of the Americas

The announcement today is a follow-on to a previous announcement of its partnership with Netflix, which should lead to a number of additional announcements within the near future.

"We've worked with a number of partners within the ecosystem, but can't name any more than Logitech today," says David Vogel, director of strategic accounts, when asked to comment on a Sony-manufactured Google TV box that will contain Netflix functionality, or about the iPad, which has an iOS-powered Netflix delivery application.

"We can't comment on Sony or others specifically, but we think it's safe to say that the ecosystem partners would look to us given our relationship with Netflix," says Steenkamp

"Netflix is a partner we've been working with for months and months," Vogel added.

I asked Steenkamp and Vogel whether Irdeto's background in a limited number of devices, many of which had smart-card and other hardware security measures, could translate in to a multiple-device universe.

"We see these new ecosystems expanding to access content from a variety of devices," says Steenkamp. "When there is premium content run through these devices, controlled access is needed to keep business models intact.

"Cloakware is a software-based and can be rolled out across multiple platforms," added Vogel, "regardless of whether there is hardware-specific smart-card implementations."

"We've done conditional access smart-cards as part of our core technology," says Steenkamp, "but that was a limited number of devices. Now we're showing multiple devices and environments, as consumers have clearly signaled that they want to access content from any location or device."

When asked about how Cloakware fits in the greater digital rights management (DRM) ecosystem, Steenkamp says that Cloakware is complementary.

"It either sits alongside DRM or adds some additional controlled access or locking functionality," he says, with Vogel adding that Cloakware works alongside the major DRM solutions on the market, as well as few proprietary ones."

"When you think about our history with controlled access and hardware-based security," Steenkamp concluded, "the challenge is fundamentally the same. Instead of a few device and operators, though, we're now rolling out to multiple devices and multiple operators. We're a company with traditional experience, but can also expand our technology to match our expertise, providing the same level of premium content protection in the new, more dynamic delivery world."

According to Logitech, the goal was to protect content without hindering the user experience.

"Our objective with Logitech Revue is to deliver the best-possible experience with Google TV," says Ashish Arora, Logitech vice president and general manager of the digital home group. "We selected Irdeto because the company delivers a very flexible and reliable solution for protecting high-value content over broadband - without compromising user experience."

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