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20 December 2019 

Digital Rights Management ensures safe video streaming

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is important to know something about if you want to start a video platform. You want to prevent that anyone can download your videos illegally. To give you a little more insight into the different forms and the technology behind it, we cover the most common types of DRM in this blog.

The most common DRM systems which are typically used with the most common streaming protocols all follow the “Common Encryption” scheme (CENC). This standard was developed under the working group “MPEG“. It allows for interchanging DRM systems with the same encrypted content. This is convenient, as it requires encrypting the video content only once, and allowing decryption (playback) via different DRM systems.

3 most common DRM types

Microsoft PlayReady DRM 
This type was developed by Microsoft and is typically implemented in combination with MSS or MPEG-DASH.

Google Widevine 
This type was developed by Google and is typically implemented in combination with MPEG-DASH.

Apple FairPlay 
This type was developed by Apple and is implemented in combination with HLS. 

Digital Rights Management stands for security

DRM allows a wide range of options such as restricting playback to a certain device or to a certain time interval. In other words: Full “rights management”.

Alternatively more basic technology is often employed to achieve at least a basic level of security through video encryption. But without the additional range of options offered by a DRM system. A popular example is the “Advanced Encryption Standard” (AES). This type is often implemented in combination with HLS. Because the implementation of “FairPlay” is often more involved than that of “WideVine” or “PlayReady”.

In order to secure video playback on the widest variety of platforms and devices, you should include “PlayReady” and “Widevine” in your proposition. For HLS ideally you’d use “FairPlay”. However depending on requirements “AES” can be used as a “fallback” alternative.