Verimatrix Targets Early VOD Windows With Watermark System

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Content-security technology vendor Verimatrix is launching a user-specific watermarking system, StreamMark, which can embed a unique identifier in video that's compressed and encrypted, aimed at operators offering premium video-on-demand content in earlier release windows.

Verimatrix will demo StreamMark at CableNET, the technology showcase co-sponsored by CableLabs and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, at the 2011 Cable Show next week in Chicago. The company does not have any announced customers for the product.

The vendor cited the Federal Communications Commission's May 2010 ruling allowing selectable output control (SOC) for set-top boxes as paving the way for early-release VOD movies to be released with copy restrictions. As a complement to SOC, the StreamMark system is supposed to allow a distributor to trace an unauthorized copy of video back to the source.

"With new release windows come new piracy challenges," Verimatrix chief technology officer Petr Peterka said. "Studios are now insisting on a combination of [selectable output control] and forensic watermarking technologies that secure assets beyond the set-top."

The company claims StreamMark watermarks can be added to H.264 or MPEG-2 stream-based video with negligible performance impact. The watermark uses a "streaming-friendly tracing insertion" approach, so that no proprietary media player integration is required.

Verimatrix also sells VideoMark, which uses a client-side watermarking technique to provide real-time, session-based video traceability.

Investors in San Diego-based Verimatrix include by Goldman Sachs, Mission Ventures, Crescendo Ventures, Cipio Partners, JK&B Capital and SunAmerica Ventures.

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