Video: Broadcast Content Protection

With video piracy estimated to cost the US economy $29M a year and programming rights costing 100s of millions of dollars or more, there’s plenty of reason to look to technology to protect your content. There is a long history of copy protection for broadcast/linear content which is continually changing.

Graham Turner, who has worked extensively in copy protection for many years, gives us an overview of how pay TV works, a look at the different types of protection and a look back at the history to see what we can learn from the mistakes made since the late 1980s.

After explaining the many reasons different types of channels have to protect their content, Graham explains the fundamentals of content protection, encryption and decryption being central to protection discussing symmetric and asymmetric cryptography. He then discusses key length which is something we hear a lot of, but can be non-trivial to understand. After all, AES talks of 128 and 256-bit keys, whereas in other areas we hear 1024, 2048 and more. Graham shows how these relate to the different keys in symmetric and asymmetric cryptography.

Pay TV is the area of focus for this video whereby live decryption keys need to be available at the set top box (STB) in the home. For DVD copy protection, the key is already in the DVD player and revocation of the rights of that DVD player are difficult. For TV there is a path from the broadcaster to the receiver which allows for more reactive rights management. ECM, Entitlement Checking Messages and EMM, Entitlement Management Messages, are the ways in which these permissions are spread so we look at how these work.

The architecture of the STB comes in focus next as Graham explains how the decryption and describing fit together along with hardware security and software security. Naturally after the STB has decoded the video, there’s interest in making sure the delivery to the TV is also secure which is where HDMI’s HDCP comes in with HDCP 2.2 protecting UHD content. HDCP is a method of ensuring that recording devices don’t get to record protected video whereas TVs or display devices can. Fingerprinting and watermarking are two technologies which are also examined showing how they are useful, to an extent, in identification of footage though not directly useful in preventing piracy itself.

The video ends with a very interesting look at the various high profile hacks from the last 30 or so years examining what was broken and how – in particular whether the cryptography itself was broken or whether the attack succeeded due to a weak link in the chain of another part of the system.

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Speakers

​ Graham Turner ​Graham Turner
Television Technologist,
Former Chair, IET Media

Video: Online Streaming Primer

A trip down memory lane for some, a great intro to the basics of streaming for others, this video from IET Media looks at the history of broadcasting and how that has moved over the years to online streaming posing the question whether, with so many people watching online, is that broad enough to now be considered broadcast?

The first of a series of talks from IET Media, the video starts by highlighting that the recording of video was only practical 20 years after the first television broadcasts then talks about how television has moved on to add colour, resolution and move to digital. The ability to record video is critical to almost all of our use of media today. Whilst film worked well as an archival medium, it didn’t work well, at scale, for recording of live broadcasts. So in the beginning, broad casting from one, or a few, transmitters was all there was.

Russell Trafford-Jones, from IET Media, then discusses the advent of streaming from its predecessor as file-based music in portable players, through the rise of online radio and how this naturally evolved into the urge to stream video in much the same way.

Being a video from the IET video, Russell then looks at the technology behind getting video onto a network and over the internet. He talks about cutting the stream into chunks, i.e. small files, and how sending files can create a seamless stream of data. One key advantage of this method is Adaptive BitRate (ABR) meaning being able to change from one quality level, to another which typically means changing bitrate to adapt to changing network conditions.

Finishing by talking about the standards available for online streaming, this talk is a great introduction to streaming and an important part of anyone’s foundational understanding of broadcast and streaming.

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This video was produced by IET Media, a technical network within the IET which runs events, talks and webinars for networking and education within the broadcast industry. More information

Speakers

Russell Trafford-Jones Russell Trafford-Jones
Exec Member, IET Media
Manager, Support & Services, Techex
Editor, The Broadcast Knowledge

Video: Where can SMPTE 2110 and NDI co-exist?

When are two video formats better than one? Broadcasters have long sought ‘best of breed’ systems matching equipment as close as possible to your ideal workflow. In this talk we look getting the best of both compressed, low-latency and uncompressed video. NDI, a lightly compressed, ultra low latency codec, allows full productions in visually lossless video with a field of latency. SMPTE’s ST-2110 allows full productions with uncompressed video and almost zero latency.

Bringing together the EBU’s Willem Vermost who paints a picture from the perspective of public broadcasters who are planning their moves into the IP realm, Marc Risby from UK distributor and integrator Boxer brings a more general view of the market’s interest and Will Waters who spent many years in Newtek, the company that invented NDI we hear the two approaches of compressed and uncompressed compliment each other.

This panel took place just after the announcement that Newtek had been bought by VizRT, the graphics vendor, who sees a lot of benefit in being able to work in both types of workflow, for clients large and small and who have made Newtek its own entity under the VizRT umbrella to ensure continued focus.

A key differentiator of NDI is it’s focus on 1 gigabit networking. Its aim has always to enable ‘normal’ companies to be able to deploy IP video easily so they can rapidly benefit from the benefits that IP workflows bring over SDI or other baseband video technologies. A keystone in this strategy is to enable everything to happen on normal, 1Gbit switches which are prevalent in most companies today. Other key elements to the codec are: free, software development kit, bi-directionality, resolution independent, audio sample-rate agnostic, tally support, auto discovery and more.

In the talk, we discuss the pros and cons of this approach where interoperability is assured as everyone has to use the same receive and transmit code, against having an standard such as SMPTE ST-2110. SMPTE ST-2110 has the benefit of being uncompressed, assuring the broadcaster that they have captured the best possible quality of video, promises better management at scale, tighter integration into complex workflows, lower latency and the ability to treat the many different essences separately. Whilst we discuss many of the benefits of SMPTE ST-2110, you can get a more detailed overview from this presentation from the IP Showcase.

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This panel was produced by IET Media, a technical network within the IET which runs events, talks and webinars for networking and education within the broadcast industry. More information

Speakers

Willem Vermost Willem Vermost
Senior IP Media Technology Architect,
EBU
Marc Risby Marc Risby
CTO,
Boxer Group
Will Walters Will Waters
Vice President Of Worldwide Customer Success,
VizRT
Russell Trafford-Jones Moderator: Russell Trafford-Jones
Exec Member, IET Media
Manager, Support & Services, Techex
Editor, The Broadcast Knowledge

Video: The End of Broadcast? Broadcast to IP Impacts

It’s very clear that internet streaming is growing, often resulting in a loss of viewership by traditional over-the-air broadcast. This panel explores the progress of IP-delivered TV, the changes in viewing habits this is already prompting and looks at the future impacts on broadcast television as a result.

Speaking at the IABM Theatre at IBC 2019, Ian Nock, chair of IET Media, sets the scene. He highlights stats such as 61% of Dutch viewing being non-linear, DirecTV publicly declaring they ‘have bought their last transponder’ and discusses the full platform OTT services available in the market place now.

To add detail to this, Ian is joined by DVB, the UK’s DTG and Germany’s Television Platform dealing with transformation to IP within Germany. Yvonne Thomas, from the Digital Television Group, takes to the podium first who starts by talking about the youngest part of the population who have a clear tendency to watch streamed services over broadcast compared to other generations. Yvonne talks about research showing UK consumers being willing to have 3 subscriptions to media services which is not in line with the number and fragmented nature of the options. She then finishes with the DTG manifesto for a consolidated and thus simplified way of accessing multiple services.

Peter Siebert from DVB looks at the average viewing time averaged over Europe which shows that the amount of time spent watching linear broadcast is actually staying stable – as is the amount of time spent watching DVDs. He also exposes the fact that the TV itself is still very much the most used device for watching media, even if it’s not RF-delivered. As such, the TV still provides the best quality of video and shared experience. Looking at history to understand the future, Peter shows a graph of cinema popularity before and after the introduction of television. Cinema was, indeed, impacted but importantly it did not die. We are left to conclude that his point is that linear broadcast will similarly not disappear, but simply have a different place in the future.

Finally, head of the panel session, Andre Prahl explains the role of the Deutsche TV-Plattform who are focussing on ‘media over IP’ with respect to delivery of video to end user both in terms of internet bandwidth but also Wi-Fi frequencies within the home.

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This panel was produced by IET Media, a technical network within the IET which runs events, talks and webinars for networking and education within the broadcast industry. More information

Speakers

Andre Prahl André Prahl
Deutsche TV-Plattform
Peter Siebert Peter Siebert
Head of Technology,
DVB Project
Yvonne Thomas Yvonne Thomas
Strategic Technologist
Digital TV Group
Ian Nock Moderator: Ian Nock
Chair,
IET Media Technical Network