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Irdeto Awarded Multiple Patents for Industry’s First Interoperable Watermarking Technology for Set-top Boxes

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Carlsbad, CA & Ottawa -- Irdeto, a global software security and media technology company, today announced its head-end-based watermarking technology for set-top boxes was awarded three patents from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, officially making it the only interoperable, backward-compatible watermarking solution available on the U.S. market. Eight additional patents are pending on the company’s watermarking technology, positioning Irdeto as the ideal security partner to satisfy the requirements of Hollywood studios and enable early-release premium entertainment.

According to a study by Adams Media Research, DVD revenues have plummeted 27 percent since their 2004 peak of $12 billion. In an effort to build new revenue streams, studios are exploring on-demand delivery of theatre movies direct to consumers’ homes, confident that the service will not impact traditional theatre and DVD releases – that is, unless the business model is disrupted by piracy. As such, studios are requiring additional security measures to mitigate potential threats of piracy and new software must be deployed to every set-top box offering early-release entertainment, at a minimum. The only fully server-based solution of its kind, Irdeto’s watermarking technology allows content owners to trace illegally distributed content to individual users. Uniquely watermarked content can be prepared centrally, enabling ease of deployment and scalability without requiring integration with the VOD server or set-top box.

“As content owners and operators continue to explore possibilities to deliver premium content services into the home to drive new revenue and growth, the technology needed to manage digital piracy becomes a critical part of the equation,” said Andrew Wajs, chief technology officer for Irdeto. “The more valuable the content, the more rigorous the security measures applied to it must be. Irdeto’s watermarking technology is unique in that it can be applied to any broadcast receiver or set-top box currently in use as well as work with all legacy and already deployed conditional access systems, meaning content owners can almost instantaneously identify illegally distributed content, effectively police offenders and ensure the premium content business model remains viable.”

Irdeto’s solution can detect pirated content on peer-to-peer sharing networks by applying an invisible “watermark” that ties redistributed content back to any set-top box from which it originated: from there, content owners can identify and shut down illegal distribution networks. In the event of an attack, the solution can be renewed from the head-end almost instantly without requiring updates to the box itself, enabling unparalleled renewability, scalability and ease of deployment. For operators, these benefits translate into head-end implementation cost savings, a faster time to market and better overall security in the long term.

“Electronic distribution of movies in early windows not only opens a way to recover revenues studios lost from the falloff in DVD sales; it represents an opportunity to cut the huge losses accruing from piracy of physical media, provided security in the electronic domain has the necessary robustness,” said Fred Dawson, CEO of Broadband Information Resources and editor of ScreenPlays Magazine. “Forensic watermarking is widely seen as a vital component to achieving the required level of security, but drawbacks limiting ubiquitous application and ease of use in tracing the sources of piracy have slowed adoption. A solution that addresses this problem could help move the market where everyone wants to go.”

Added Wajs: “Irdeto is committed to helping our customers navigate content delivery and security in a Media 3.0 world, and watermarking technology is critical to the future of one of the core outputs of Media 3.0: premium video on demand. Our patented watermarking technology is the only solution on the market that adequately addresses the needs of studios and other premium content owners, clearly demonstrating our continued leadership in the digital content security ecosystem.”

To learn more about watermarking technology and digital content security, request an appointment with Irdeto at CableLabs Winter Conference 2011 in Atlanta February 29 – March 2, or visit

About Irdeto

Irdeto is the most innovative software security and media technology company in the world. Through its diversified, renewable security and monetization technologies, the company allows new forms of distribution for broadcast /broadband/mobile entertainment, and for the world’s most popular app, eStores and consumer devices. Co-headquartered in Amsterdam and Beijing, Irdeto employs 1000 people in 25 locations around the world. It is a subsidiary of multinational media group Naspers (JSE: NPN). Please visit Irdeto at

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