Limelight Adds Multi-DRM to CDN Services

Limelight Networks has plugged a gap in its CDN services by adding support for multiple DRMs aimed at streaming services.

The company’s new Multi-DRM On the Fly package is the result of its partnership with BuyDRM, a specialist in the technology, and supports the three DRMs that dominate the streaming device field, Microsoft’s PlayReady, Google’s Widevine and Apple’s FairPlay. Limelight says this will make it easier for its content distribution customers to control what their end users can do with video and audio streams, whether this is sharing, recording, or viewing only.

Limelight had a dig at traditional pay TV security vendors with its comment that other approaches force service providers to act as systems integrators and deploy their own license servers. Limelight’s Multi-DRM On the Fly incorporates all the server-based licensing, software, and implementation services needed for deployment. Customers get a full DRM package integrated with Limelight’s CDN along with ongoing support and maintenance. On-demand content is stored as a single master file and automatically encoded in HLS or MPEG-DASH format with Google Widevine, Microsoft PlayReady or Apple FairPlay DRM encryption as requested by viewers, without need for pre-encryption.

It is certainly true that such integration of multi-DRM support is a threat to the traditional security vendors, but they are not standing idly by and are themselves partnering with the major CDN and cloud service providers. Verimatrix for example has collaborated with Amazon’s video software company Elemental to integrate its MultiRights OTT package with the Elemental Live and Statmux software to combine encoding, delivery and multi-DRM support. Then recently Verimatrix announced the integration at API level between the MultiRights OTT multi-DRM security solution and Amazon Web Services (AWS) Media Services through AWS Elemental MediaConvert and AWS Elemental MediaPackage. This combined multi-DRM package can unify set top boxes, connected devices and HTML5 browsers under a common rights management umbrella for secure premium content playback, according to Verimatrix.

Verimatrix MultiRights OTT multi-DRM security is integrated with Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Verimatrix MultiRights OTT multi-DRM security is integrated with Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Meanwhile Swiss based Kudelski Group has been promoting multi-DRM through its Conax subsidiary around a single unified security hub aimed at both traditional pay TV providers and standalone OTT services. Recently announced customers include Argentinean regional pay TV operators CableVideo and Colsecor.

Another contender in the multi-DRM space, but with a rather different thrust, is Intertrust, whose Universal DRM supports the big three of FairPlay, Widevine and PlayReady. But it also supports Marlin, originally introduced as an interoperable DRM in 2005 by the Marlin Developer Community founded by five companies, Panasonic, Philips, SamsungSony and Intertrust itself. Intertrust has argued that although it is supporting multiple DRMs itself, a growing number of service providers are interested in promoting Marlin on some platforms to escape the proprietary agendas surrounding those big three.

For CDN providers like Limelight though it does not matter which way the wind blows over DRM. The key point is that content providers will want an affordable and efficient platform or service for reaching all the popular connected devices and Limelight has decided to focus heavily on all the relevant streaming technologies as well as DRM. It is particularly targeting live video streaming, where Limelight is implementing the WebRTC-based low-latency live video streaming across its CDN. Limelight has noted that with Adobe’s upcoming end-of-life for Flash, many content distributors need to move to a new streaming technology to support live video streaming workflows. By integrating WebRTC streaming support into the Limelight Orchestrate Platform, content distributors will be able to implement scalable live video streaming workflows that require the lowest latency possible, such as gambling, gaming, and sports broadcasting.

It is also working on video acceleration, having at IBC 2017 featured recently introduced proprietary technology aimed at reducing streaming delay further.

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