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U.K. gets PC TV service

A new service will launch in the U.K. this month that enables users to get premium broadcast channels and video-on-demand content on a PC, using a virtual set-top box that comes with full personal video recorder capabilities. The service, known as Freewire, is being delivered by Inuk Networks, using security from Widevine Techologies to ensure content protection.

Widevine announced its participation in the Inuk service today at the IBC show in Amsterdam.

“We think this is the first service of its kind in the world,” Matt Cannard, vice president of marketing for Widevine said. “It is the first PC TV deployment across a managed network delivering linear content and VoD.”

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Inuk has partnered with Cable & Wireless in the U.K. to deliver its video service over C&W’s DSL network, he added. Key to the service is Iunk’s Igloo virtual set-top box, which will use Widevine’s Cypher content protection to insure video content that is downloaded is not also copied and sold.

“We chose Widevine because they provide a multiplatform, multiformat downloadable conditional access and digital rights management solution with digital copy protection—a key requirement for licensing premium broadcast and Hollywood content for delivery to PCs,” said Inuk Networks’ CEO Marcus Liassides, in a prepared statement. “We evaluated the market and determined that only Widevine provided these critical features in a single content security solution which is easily integrated in the Freewire platform to support both our set top box and PC platforms, enabling our customers to watch TV on the device of their choice anywhere in the home.”

Widevine is providing both conditional access and digital rights management for Inuk, What Widevine also is able to do is prevent consumers from copying the video content after it has been decrypted for viewing over the PC, Cannard said.

“We protect content post-decryption, and they are looking to insure that there is that added level of protection they can’t get otherwise,” he said. “We are monitoring what the rules are for that content, making sure no piracy is occurring. Only content that has been authorized is viewed and the viewer can’t use a screen scraper or a stream scraper to record the content after it has been decrypted.”

It is that layer of protection that content owners want to see before they will license their video material to service providers such as Inuk for distribution. As more service providers seek to deliver content to a wider array of devices, Cannard added, post-decryption protection becomes more important.

“They want to get to wide number of platforms beyond the set-top box such as the portable video player in the future,” he said. “To do that, you have to be able to assure content providers that you can prevent piracy.”

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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