Digital TV Europe's In-depth Q&A with Tom Jahr on security challenges of delivering multiscreen TV

September 5, 2013

Read the entire Q&A with Tom on Digital TV Europe

Tom Jahr, executive vice-president, products & partners at Conax, talks to DTVE about the security challenges of delivering multiscreen TV.

Q) How complex is it for operators to deliver OTT and multiscreen TV services from a content security perspective?

A) Securing content delivered over different networks to a wide range of devices is complex. From a security perspective, PCs, the various smart phones, tablets and connected TV-platforms are highly different – each needing its tailored security solution. But this does not necessarily mean that the operation has to be complex. A well designed security solution provides the operator with a consistent method of configuring and enforcing business models and content protection rules across all devices, to enable/disable content streaming to specific platforms based on content rights, and to add and remove devices from user accounts, etc. The key is to create an abstraction layer between the device implementations and the management interfaces.

Through this approach, the complexity of OTT and multiscreen security has minimal impact on operator’s day-to-day operation.

Q) To what extent can the delivery of video services to multiple devices be as secure as a service delivered only to set-top boxes?

A set-top box is a dedicated TV-device most often managed by the operator. Such devices are designed to support content and service security, while consumer devices such as TVs and tablets are not. Consequently, the achievable security level for a set-top box will be higher than that of these other devices. But we expect the gap to shrink, in part by hardware security support being introduced to the new consumer devices.

Set-top boxes and consumer devices alike have the potential to offer everything from rather poor to very high content and service security. So, the question is becomes more a matter of whether the security level is optimized given the available resources (such as available bandwidth for security, security hardware, operating system, etc.) – a cost/benefit consideration. Also important to keep in mind is it that security should be non-intrusive and not interfere with the service quality experienced by consumers, but rather sustain it by being flexible and responsive. This is where the competency of the security provider is crucial; applying a mix of software and hardware security depending on the platform to deliver highly secure, cost effective and non-intrusive solutions.