OTT platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video block smartphones from streaming movies or TV shows at certain resolutions. Digital rights management (DRM) is how it is done. DRM ensures that video content is stored and transmitted in an encrypted form. Video content is encrypted and packaged, using multiple DRM plans for compatibility with multiple devices. When a video playback request is initiated by the video player from a license server, it determines whether the user and device are authorized. If yes, a response is initiated through a decryption key back to the player.
What is Widevine DRM?
Google Widevine is a leading DRM encryption scheme for securely licensing distributing, and protecting playback on video and ensuring the monetization of content on any consumer device. It supports Google Chrome, Android MediaDRM, Android TV, and other electronic devices. Widevine is estimated to be installed on some 4 billion devices around the world. It is a freeware and does not charge any fees to generate licenses or for device integration.
How Does Widevine DRM Work?
Widevine implements a set of industry standards to protect content as it is transmitted to and played back on devices. It makes use of a combination of CENC encryption, licensing key exchange, and adaptive streaming quality. The work is simplified at the service provider’s end. Multiple levels of streaming quality are supported depending on the security capabilities of the receiving device.
Widevine DRM protects content across three levels of security – L3, L2, and L1.
For Level 1, all content processing, cryptography, and control must be done within a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) of the device’s processor. All ARM Cortex-A processors implement TrustZone technology which creates a hardware separation that allows a trusted OS like Android or iOS to create a TEE.
Level 2 only requires that cryptography be carried out inside the TEE.
Level 3 applies when the device doesn’t have a TEE or when the processing is done outside of it. But appropriate measures must still be taken to protect the encryption within the host OS.
Benefits of Widevine DRM
- End-to-end control and flexibility during video playback
- Device security
- Compatible with legacy systems
- Reliable content protection across multiple devices
How to Implement Widevine DRM?
A DRM setup needs specific encoding, packaging, playback, and a license server. License servers can be built in-house or be integrated with third parties.
While Android devices support either L1 or L3 security levels, Google Chrome on desktops is capped at L3. If your device is only L3-compliant, you are restricted to sub-HD resolutions. Only L1 devices can deliver HD or higher quality playback from Widevine secured services.
Widevine doesn’t charge a license fee to implement its DRM technology. Hardware manufacturers earn the license through a certification process which includes the completion of various legal agreements, implementation of some software libraries, and client integration testing.
Widevine is dedicated to security for a streaming platform. A multi-DRM implementation maximizes the reach of your content by utilizing several DRM parallelly to reach all the major devices. GudSho uses Widevine DRM to secure your content and to maximize distribution by making it compatible with multiple devices.