Which DRM supports what platforms?

03. June 2016

We have decided to sum up platform native support of several DRM technologies that should help you decide and eventually deploy the best solution for all the major OTT platforms and devices.

It usually takes a lot of effort to plan all the things related to distributing a video content and when it comes to choosing DRM for your services, there is no difference. So why not to make it a bit easier?

When choosing DRM, finding out which DRM supports what platforms is not only one of the most important things, but it is really difficult to discover up-to-date information since it is not available on websites.

Moreover, these platforms can further vary between its devices and operating systems and then it can become far from clear which DRM will do its job best. That’s why we believe that a simple table summary should help you clarify the current state of things. 

Platform / Encryption PlayReady Widevine Modular Widevine Classic FairPlay Marlin Verimatrix VCAS
Smart TVs
 
 
 
 
 
 
Samsung Smart TV (Orsay)
 ●
x
x
5
Samsung Tizen
 ●
● 
● 
5
LG NetCast
 ●
● 
x
5 
LG webOS
 ●
● 
5
Phillips NetTV
 ●5
● 
Panasonic Firefox
 ●
● 
Sony Bravia
 ●
Platforms
 
 
 
 
 
 
HbbTV6
 ●2
2 
Media players
 
 
 
 
 
 
Chromecast
4
x
Android TV
● 
 ●1
Roku
x
10
Apple TV
x
8
Amazon Fire TV
3
x
x
9
Game consoles
 
 
 
 
 
 
Xbox One/360
x
PlayStation 3/4
 x7
● 
1 with players: Verimatrix Secure Player SDK, VisualOn OnStream MediaPlayer+ SDK, Squadeo QuickPlayer, Labgency Multi-Platform Video Player, Veygo Secure Video Player. 
2 optional feature, depends on target market
3 with use of "VisualOn OnStream MediaPlayer+ SDK" (free of charge)
4 with use of "Media Player Library" (free of charge)
5 not all model lines
6 1.2.1 (HbbTV 1.5) and 1.3.1 (HbbTV 2.0)
7 even though there is not the platform-level support in PlayStation WebMAF SDK yet, there are already custom build applications which are using Widevine Modular. The official support might appear later this or the next year.
8 supports native Apple player (according to the information provided by Verimatrix – 07/2016)
9 supported on both generations using Verimatrix Secure Player SDK, VisualOn OnStream MediaPlayer+ SDK, and INSIDE Secure Fusion SDK
10 according to the information provided by Verimatrix – 07/2016

 

In the world of OTT, it seems that Microsoft’s PlayReady dominates as it supports the majority of platforms except Apple TV, which can be covered just by Apple’s FairPlay. The situation regarding the two versions of Google’s Widevine is slightly more complicated. Widevine Classic is much more suitable if you consider application primarily for Smart TV platforms, while the new version – Widevine Modular – does not support these platforms, but covers Chromecast and Android TV.

As you can see, PlayReady is the way to go if the number of supported platforms is your main concern. Microsoft's DRM is also the best option (and the most popular one) for live TV. However, things are getting more complicated with mobile phones and then is becomes inevitable to use multiple DRMs for comprehensive platform support. (There will be an upcoming article discussing this topic on mobile phones.)

The other question is pricing. It could be actually cost-effective to consider a multi-DRM solution and cover some platforms e.g. with Widevine Classic, Verimatrix VCAS or Motorola SecureMedia – the latter two are handy especially when standard set-top boxes are also part of a multiscreen service – and use PlayReady for the rest of platforms.

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