One of the key factors in creating a true multi-device pay OTT TV service lies within the ability to secure and optimize the delivery of premium content, regardless of the technology at hand.

Is Multi DRM crucial for a complete cross device OTT service?

This approach has not been overlooked by the major DRM vendors with Widevine and Microsoft (PlayReady) declaring their solution to be platform independent. The ability of one DRM vendor to deliver to multiple devices undermines the necessity of a designated, multi DRM aggregator. However, it is hard to imagine that the ever-growing market of consumer electronics will end up un-fragmented. Therefore, until we will witness the existence of a true Omni-present DRM a service relying on the ability of one DRM to adapt will at the best case scenario, suffer some lagging upon any introduction of a new platform to the OTT market.

Examining the scope of a domain (Household) certainly raises many scenarios (and therefore some user management and content security issues). A Pay OTT TV platform would not only have to manage the different users and the content they consume (In terms of content/budget Restrictions) but also have the ability to define the contract in accordance to the package the domain has purchased. This contract would then have to be interpreted and hereafter enforced by the designated DRM.

It has been established that a DRM would have to support a variety of business models (Live, VoD, Download to own, EST), multiple codecs (H264, WebM, VC1) and preferably some adaptive streaming technology (Widevine Adaptive, Smooth Streaming, HLS). A Pay OTT TV platform which supports multiple DRM's would therefore have to accommodate any permutation of these properties and also be able to repack the encrypted file with the right DRM container while applying the business rules accordingly.

Project YouView (A venture for an open internet connected TV platform led by British broadcasters) has declared its platform is going to be multi DRM (as an open platform should be) but eventually decided to settle with just one (Marlin). Disregarding the reasons for this compromise, YouView's intentions are clear and in line with the cross device scheme.

Tvinci's agenda in regards to a pay OTT TV service declares: A consistent content consumption experience across any internet connected device. Neglecting a multi DRM scenario would eventually limit the variety of devices which the service is able to support and eventually affecting its success.